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Molecular species delimitation in the genus Eumerus (Diptera: Syrphidae)

  • A. Chroni (a1), M. Djan (a2), D. Obreht Vidaković (a2), T. Petanidou (a1) and A. Vujić (a2)...

Abstract

Eumerus is one of the most diverse genera of hoverfly worldwide. Species delimitation within genus is considered to be difficult due to: (a) lack of an efficient key; (b) non-defined taxonomical status of a large number of species; and (c) blurred nomenclature. Here, we present the first molecular study to delimit species of the genus by using a fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome-c oxidase subunit I gene (COI) gene. We assessed 75 specimens assigned to 28 taxa originating from two biogeographic zones: 22 from the western Palaearctic and six from the Afrotropical region. Two datasets were generated based on different sequence lengths to explore the significance of availability of more polymorphic sites for species delimitation; dataset A with a total length of 647 bp and dataset B with 746 bp. Various tree inference approaches and Poisson tree processes models were applied to evaluate the putative ‘taxonomical’ vs. ‘molecular’ taxa clusters. All analyses resulted in high taxonomic resolution and clear species delimitation for both the dataset lengths. Furthermore, we revealed a high number of mitochondrial haplotypes and high intraspecific variability. We report two major monophyletic clades, and seven ‘molecular’ groups of taxa formed, which are congruent with morphology-based taxonomy. Our results support the use of the mitochondrial COI gene in species diagnosis of Eumerus.

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*Author for correspondence Phone: +302251036423 Fax: +302251036423 E-mail: a.chroni@geo.aegean.gr

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