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Brazilian Journal of Biology

versão impressa ISSN 1519-6984


BOUZON, JL et al. Cryptic species and genetic structure in Didemnum granulatum Tokioka, 1954 (Tunicata: Ascidiacea) from the southern Brazilian coast. Braz. J. Biol. [online]. 2014, vol.74, n.4, pp.923-932. ISSN 1519-6984.

Didemnum granulatum is a colonial fouling ascidian that lives in subtidal substrates, worldwide. It exhibits two morphotypes, orange and beige. In this study, we verified if the color morphotypes and/or the spatial distribution of specimens in different islands might be associated to patterns of genetic structure of a single species, or if they represent distinct cryptic species. Specimens were collected in four islands, along the coast of the Santa Catarina state. A segment of 490 bp from the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) was amplified from 45 samples. Twenty-one haplotypes were identified. The total haplotype diversity (0.912) and the total nucleotide diversity (0.044) were high. The global Fst of the populations analyzed was 0.97, with most of the variation occurring between orange and beige groups (82.19%). The variation found between populations within groups was 15.37%, and 2.45% within populations. Haplotype networks and the neighbor-joining tree showed clear genetic divergence between individuals of distinct colors, and between the islands. These evidences strongly support the presence of a complex of two cryptic species for D. granulatum occupying the studied area. Both species were also highly genetically structured between islands, suggesting that the conservation process of these populations is complex.

Palavras-chave : ascidian; genetic diversity; population structure; islands; cryptic species.

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