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Type: Article
Published: 2018-10-04
Page range: 175–189
Abstract views: 61
PDF downloaded: 2

Green light to an integrative view of Microscolex phosphoreus (Dugès, 1837) (Annelida: Clitellata: Acanthodrilidae)

Department of Physics, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Siena, Via P.A. Mattioli 4, IT-53100 Siena, Italy
Systematics and Biodiversity, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Box 463, SE-40530 Göteborg, Sweden
Systematics and Biodiversity, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Box 463, SE-40530 Göteborg, Sweden
Laboratory of Photobiology, Institute of Biophysics SB RAS, Federal Research Center “Krasnoyarsk Science Center SB RAS”, Krasnoyarsk, Russia
Laboratory of Photobiology, Institute of Biophysics SB RAS, Federal Research Center “Krasnoyarsk Science Center SB RAS”, Krasnoyarsk, Russia
Department of Physics, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Siena, Via P.A. Mattioli 4, IT-53100 Siena, Italy
Annelida peregrine earthworm cryptic diversity morphology DNA-barcoding bioluminescence


The small synanthropic and peregrine earthworm Microscolex phosphoreus (Dugès, 1837) is reported for the first time from Siberia. Morphological and DNA barcode (COI) analyses of this and widely separate samples worldwide demonstrate that, as currently identified, M. phosphoreus is a heterogeneous taxon, with divergent lineages occurring often in the same locality and hardly providing geographically structured genetic signals. The combined morphological and genetic evidence suggests that at least four of the found clades should be reclassified as separate species, both morphologically and genetically distinct from each other. However, as the specimen number was limited and only the COI gene was studied for the genetic work, we hesitate in formally describing new species. There would also be the problem of assigning the available names to specific lineages. Our findings encourage careful external and anatomical examination and using reliable characters such as the interchaetal distances and spermathecal morphology for correct identification and for deeper evaluation of cryptic diversity in this interesting bioluminescent worm.



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