Publication details

Two DNA barcodes and morphology for multi-method species delimitation in Bonnetina tarantulas (Araneae: Theraphosidae)



Year of publication 2016
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Keywords Species delimitation; DNA barcoding; Gap coding; Genetic polymorphism; Molecular systematics; Cryptic species
Description Determining species boundaries is a central debate in biology. Several recently developed molecular delimitation methods have highlighted extensive inconsistency in classical morphological taxonomy. However, choosing between them is contentious. Molecular studies on theraphosid spiders have found considerable cryptic diversity and many species redundantly described. Most of these studies have relied only on COI, a mitochondrial marker that has proven its efficacy in animal studies, but which also might lead to an over-estimation of diversity. Here we present an integrative approach to species delimitation in Bonnetina, a poorly known group of tarantulas endemic to Mexico. We employed morphological evidence, as well as different setups with distance-based (Hard-Gap barcoding and ABGD) and tree-based (GMYC, PTP and BPP) molecular barcoding approaches, using one mitochondrial (COI) and one nuclear (ITS1) rapidly evolving loci. BPP is also used as a multi-locus method. We also explored the influence of ambiguous alignment choice and of coding gaps as characters in phylogenetic inference and in species delimitation with that marker. Different delimitation methods with COI gave moderately variable results and this gene exhibited a universal barcode gap. The ITS1 gene tree was well supported and robust to alignment choice; with this locus, coding gaps improved branch support and species delimitation with PTP. No universal barcode gap was found with ITS1, and single locus delimitations returned disparate results. However, this locus helped to highlight cases of under- and overestimations by COI. BPP gave solutions with many lineages, in single locus and combined analyses, especially with the recently implemented unguided methodology. We recognize 12 robustly supported species in our data set, of which seven remain undescribed, and three are morphologically cryptic. For COI Bonnetina species identification, we propose intra- and inter-specific thresholds of 2% and 6% sequence divergence, respectively. We conclude that morphological signal for species delimitation in Bonnetina is higher than for other studied tarantulas, but it fails to recognize several lineages in the genus. COI is a functional barcoding marker, and the most reliable source of evidence that we used, but it may also lead to inaccurate delimitations. ITS1 is a highly informative locus for species delimitation and species-level phylogeny, but it performs poorly as a barcoding marker. Due to variability between delimitation methods, we suggest combining evidence from multiple approaches to get better-supported results. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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