21 October, 2013

Hidden diversity of Euscorpius in Greece revealed

Phylogenetic analysis of Euscorpius populations in Greece reveals hidden diversity in a recent article in The Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.

Aristeidis Parmakelis and co-workers have recently published a major phylogenetic analysis of the genus Euscorpius  Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) across the Mediterranean region, focusing on the Greek fauna. The extensive study show high variation, deep clade divergences, many cryptic lineages, paraphyly, and sympatry. There are probably many hidden species in the study area and the authors conclude that the major character set used in the taxonomy of the genus (trichobothrial pattern) is only partially applicable for Euscorpius species in Greece.

No new species is described in this paper, but this study will be a cornerstone for the future studies of the taxonomy and distribution of Greek Euscorpius populations

Phylogenetic analysis of the genus Euscorpius (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) across the Mediterranean region (86 specimens, 77 localities, four DNA markers: 16S rDNA, COI, COII, and ITS1), focusing on Greek fauna, revealed high variation, deep clade divergences, many cryptic lineages, paraphyly at subgenus level, and sympatry of several new and formerly known lineages. Numerous specimens from mainland and insular Greece, undoubtedly the least studied region of the genus’ distribution, have been included. The reconstructed phylogeny covers representative taxa and populations across the entire genus of Euscorpius. The deepest clades detected within Euscorpius correspond (partially) to its current subgeneric division, outlining subgenera Tetratrichobothrius and Alpiscorpius. The rest of the genus falls into several clades, including subgenus Polytrichobothrius and a paraphyletic subgenus Euscorpius s.s. Several cryptic lineages are recovered, especially on the islands. The inadequacy of the morphological characters used in the taxonomy of the genus to delineate species is discussed. Finally, the time frame of differentiation of Euscorpius in the study region is estimated and the distributional patterns of the lineages are contrasted with those of other highly diversified invertebrate genera occurring in the study region.

Parmakelis A, Kotsakiozi P, Stathi I, Poulikarakou S, Fet V. Hidden diversity of Euscorpius (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) in Greece revealed by multilocus species-delimitation approaches. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 2013;Early view. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to professor Victor Fet for sending me this paper!

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