Incongruent molecular and morphological variation in the crab spider Synema globosum (Araneae, Thomisidae) in Europe

Urfer, Karin; Spasojevic, Tamara; Klopfstein, Seraina; Baur, Hannes; Lasut, Liana; Kropf, Christian (2021). Incongruent molecular and morphological variation in the crab spider Synema globosum (Araneae, Thomisidae) in Europe. Zookeys, 1078, pp. 107-134. Pensoft Publishers 10.3897/zookeys.1078.64116

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Establishing species boundaries is one of the challenges taxonomists around the world have been tackling for centuries. The relation between intraspecific and interspecific variability is still under discussion and in many taxa it remains understudied. Here the hypothesis of single versus multiple species of the crab spider Synema globosum (Fabricius) is tested. The wide distribution range as well as its high morphological variability makes this species an interesting candidate for re-evaluation using an integrative approach. This study combines information from barcoding, phylogenetic reconstruction based on mitochondrial CO1 and ITS2 of more than 60 specimens collected over a wide range of European localities, and morphology. The findings show deep clades with up to 6% mean pairwise distance in the CO1 barcode without any biogeographical pattern. The nuclear ITS2 gene did not support the CO1 clades. Morphological assessment of somatic and genital characters in males and females and a morphometric analysis of the male palp uncovered high intraspecific variation that does not match the CO1 or ITS2 phylogenies or biogeography either. Screening for endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria was conducted and only a single infected specimen was found. Several scenarios might explain these inconsistent patterns. While the deep divergences in the barcoding marker might suggest cryptic or ongoing speciation or geographical isolation in the past, the lack of congruent variation in the nuclear ITS2 gene or the studied morphological character systems, especially the male palp, indicates that S. globosum might simply be highly polymorphic both in terms of its mtDNA and morphology. Therefore, more data on ecology and behaviour and full genome sequences are necessary to ultimately resolve this taxonomically intriguing case.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Terrestrial Ecology

UniBE Contributor:

Spasojevic, Tamara; Baur, Hannes and Kropf, Christian

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

1313-2989

Publisher:

Pensoft Publishers

Language:

English

Submitter:

Hannes Baur

Date Deposited:

16 Mar 2022 16:00

Last Modified:

16 Mar 2022 16:00

Publisher DOI:

10.3897/zookeys.1078.64116

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/166840

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/166840

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