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Morphometric and molecular characterization of an expanding Ionian population of the fireworm Hermodice carunculata (Annelida)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 July 2019

Sara Righi*
Affiliation:
Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Via Campi 213/D, 41125 Modena, Italy
Isabella Maletti
Affiliation:
Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Via Campi 213/D, 41125 Modena, Italy
Ferruccio Maltagliati
Affiliation:
Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Pisa, Via Derna 1, 56126 Pisa, Italy
Alberto Castelli
Affiliation:
Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Pisa, Via Derna 1, 56126 Pisa, Italy
Michele Barbieri
Affiliation:
Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Pisa, Via Derna 1, 56126 Pisa, Italy
Sergio Fai
Affiliation:
Area Marina Protetta “Porto Cesareo”, Lecce, Italy
Daniela Prevedelli
Affiliation:
Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Via Campi 213/D, 41125 Modena, Italy
Roberto Simonini
Affiliation:
Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Via Campi 213/D, 41125 Modena, Italy
*
Author for correspondence: Sara Righi, E-mail: sara.righi@unimore.it

Abstract

The amphinomid fireworm Hermodice carunculata is a potentially invasive species reported throughout the subtropical Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, which is known as a generalist predator and opportunistic feeder. The ongoing climate changes and seawater warming may favour fireworm poleward range expansions and density increases. Our results provide the first investigation into a population which has purportedly been spreading widely in the Salento Peninsula (Apulia, Italy). The specimens were analysed using allometric variables and molecular markers. The best morphometric parameters to estimate individual size were determined as key information for future studies on fireworm population dynamics. To phylogeographically characterize the Apulian population, sequences of the mitochondrial COI and 16S rDNA regions were obtained from a pool of individuals and treated together with those of Atlantic specimens retrieved from GenBank. The estimates of genetic variability for Apulian population were consistent with those recently reported in the literature. Inferences on demographic history analysis confirmed a recent expansion event in Apulia, as has been recounted by fishermen and scuba divers during recent years. Overall, these results constitute a crucial step in the characterization of present-day H. carunculata populations, and provide greater insight into fireworm population ecology.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2019 

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Morphometric and molecular characterization of an expanding Ionian population of the fireworm Hermodice carunculata (Annelida)
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