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Evolution of habitat preference in Clitellata (Annelida)
Rousset, V.; Plaisance, L.; Erséus, C.; Siddall, M.; Rouse, G.W. (2008). Evolution of habitat preference in Clitellata (Annelida). Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 95(3): 447-464
In: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0024-4066, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

    Evolution; Habitat selection; Annelida [WoRMS]; Clitellata [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Rousset, V.
  • Plaisance, L.
  • Erséus, C., more
  • Siddall, M.
  • Rouse, G.W.

    Clitellata (earthworms, leeches, and allies) is a clade of segmented annelid worms that comprise more than 5000 species found worldwide in many aquatic and terrestrial habitats. According to current views, the first clitellates were either aquatic (marine or freshwater) or terrestrial. To address this question further, we assessed the phylogenetic relationships among clitellates using parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses of 175 annelid 18S ribosomal DNA sequences. We then defined two ecological characters (Habitat and Aquatic-environment preferences) and mapped those characters on the trees from the three analyses, using parsimony character-state reconstruction (i.e. Fitch optimization). We accommodated phylogenetic uncertainty in the character mapping by reconstructing character evolution on all the trees resulting from parsimony and maximum likelihood bootstrap analyses and, in the Bayesian inference, on the trees sampled using the Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm. Our analyses revealed that an 'aquatic' ancestral state for clitellates is a robust result. By using alterations of coding characters and constrained analyses, we also demonstrated that the hypothesis for a terrestrial origin of clitellates is not supported. Our analyses also suggest that the most recent ancestor of clitellates originated from a freshwater environment. However, we stress the importance of adding sequences of some rare marine taxa to more rigorously assess the freshwater origin of Clitellata.

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