Seven snail species hidden in one: Biogeographic diversity in an apparently widespread periwinkle in the Southern Ocean

Aim: The Antarctic Circumpolar Current imparts significant structure to the Southern Ocean biota. The Antarctic Polar Front is a major barrier to dispersal, with separate species (or sometimes intraspecific clades) normally occurring either side of this feature. We examined the biogeographic structure of an apparent exception to this rule in a widespread genus of the Southern Ocean, the periwinkle snail, Laevilitorina. Location: Southern Ocean. Taxon: Littorinidae, Laevilitorininae, Laevilitorina. Methods: Using 750 specimens from 16 Southern Ocean Laevilitorina populations across >8000 km, we analysed mitochondrial COI and nuclear 28S sequences to uncover the evolutionary history of these marine near-shore snails. We utilized multi-locus phylogenetic reconstructions, species-delimitation analyses, divergence-time estimations and geometric morphometrics. Results: Molecular data revealed that the widespread nominal species L. caliginosacomprises seven species- level clades, all supported by morphological data, whereas the Antarctic nominal species L. antarctica, L. claviformis and L. umbilicata are conspecific. Six “caliginosa” clades are restricted to southern South America, but one lineage extends from Antarctica to distant sub-Antarctic islands on both sides of the APF.


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Authors: González‐Wevar, Claudio A., Segovia, Nicolás I., Rosenfeld, Sebastián, Maturana, Claudia S., Jeldres, Vanessa, Pinochet, Ramona, Saucède, Thomas, Morley, Simon A. ORCIDORCID record for Simon A. Morley, Brickle, Paul, Wilson, Nerida G., Spencer, Hamish G., Poulin, Elie

On this site: Simon Morley
1 August, 2022
Journal of Biogeography / 49
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