Molecular phylogeny of <em>Glossodoris</em> (Ehrenberg, 1831) nudibranchs and related genera reveals cryptic and pseudocryptic species complexes
Chromodorid nudibranchs (Chromodorididae) are brightly coloured sea slugs that live in some of the most biodiverse and threatened coral reefs on the planet. However, the evolutionary relationships within this family have not been well understood, especially in the genus Glossodoris. Members of Glossodoris have experienced large-scale taxonomic instability over the last century and have been the subject of repeated taxonomic changes, in part due to morphological characters being the sole traditional taxonomic sources of data. Changing concepts of traditional generic boundaries based on morphology also have contributed to this instability. Despite recent advances in molecular systematics, many aspects of chromodorid taxonomy remain poorly understood, particularly at the traditional species and generic levels. In this study, 77 individuals comprising 32 previously defined species were used to build the most robust phylogenetic tree of Glossodoris and related genera using mitochondrial genes cytochrome c oxidase subunit I and 16S, and the nuclear gene 28S. Bayesian inference, maximum likelihood, and maximum parsimony analyses verify the most recent hypothesized evolutionary relationships within Glossodoris. Additionally, a pseudocryptic and cryptic species complex within Glossodoris cincta and a pseudocryptic complex within Glossodoris pallida emerged, and three new species of Doriprismatica are identified.