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A re-consideration of the taxonomic status of Nebria lacustris Casey (Coleoptera, Carabidae, Nebriini) based on multiple datasets – a single species or a species complex?

Author(s): David Kavanaugh | Sophie L. Archambeault | Peter D. Roopnarine | Joel Ledford

Journal: ZooKeys
ISSN 1313-2989

Volume: 147;
Start page: 199;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Coleoptera | Carabidae | Nebriini | Nebria | Boreonebria | Appalachian Mountains | phylogeny | endemism | vicariance | French Broad River | “Driftless Zone”

This study gathered evidence from principal component analysis (PCA) of morphometric data and molecular analyses of nucleotide sequence data for four nuclear genes (28S, TpI, CAD1, and Wg) and two mitochondrial genes (COI and 16S), using parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian methods. This evidence was combined with morphological and chorological data to re-evaluate the taxonomic status of Nebria lacustris Casey sensu lato. PCA demonstrated that both body size and one conspicuous aspect of pronotal shape vary simultaneously with elevation, latitude, and longitude and served to distinguish populations from the southern Appalachian highlands, south of the French Broad, from all other populations. Molecular analyses revealed surprisingly low overall genetic diversity within N. lacustris sensu lato, with only 0.39% of 4605 bp varied in the concatenated dataset. Evaluation of patterns observed in morphological and genetic variation and distribution led to the following taxonomic conclusions: (1) Nebria lacustris Casey and Nebria bellorum Kavanaugh should be considered distinct species, which is a NEW STATUS for N. bellorum. (2) No other distinct taxonomic subunits could be distinguished with the evidence at hand, but samples from northeastern Iowa, in part of the region known as the “Driftless Zone”, have unique genetic markers for two genes that hint at descent from a local population surviving at least the last glacial advance. (3) No morphometric or molecular evidence supports taxonomic distinction between lowland populations on the shores of Lake Champlain and upland populations in the adjacent Green Mountains of Vermont, despite evident size and pronotal shape differences between many of their members.

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