Using DNA-barcoding for sorting out protist species complexes: A case study of the Nebela tincta-collaris-bohemica group (Amoebozoa; Arcellinida, Hyalospheniidae)
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European Journal of Protistology
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Species identification by means of morphology is often problematic in protists. Nebela tincta-collaris-bohemica (Arcellinida) is a species complex of small to medium-sized (ca. 100 mu m) testate amoebae common in peat bogs and forest soils. The taxonomic validity of characters used to define species within this group is debated and causes confusion in studies of biogeography, and applications in palaeoecology. We examined the relationship between morphological and genetic diversity within this species complex by combined analyses of light microscopy imaging and Cytochrome Oxidase Subunit 1(COI) sequences obtained from the same individual amoeba cells. Our goals were (1) to clarify the taxonomy and the phylogenetic relationships within this group, and (2) to evaluate if individual genotypes corresponded to specific morphotypes and the extent of phenotypic plasticity. We show here that small variations in test morphology that have been often overlooked by traditional taxonomy correspond to distinct haplotypes. We therefore revise the taxonomy of the group. We redefine Nebela tincta (Leidy) Kosakyan et Lara and N. collaris (Ehrenberg 1848) Kosakyan et Gomaa, change N. tincta var. rotunda Penard to N. rotunda (Penard 1890), describe three new species: N. guttata n. sp. Kosakyan et Lara, N. pechorensis n. sp. Kosakyan et Mitchell, and N. aliciae n. sp. Mitchell et Lara. (C) 2012 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
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