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A mega-cryptic species complex hidden among one of the most common annelids in the North East Atlantic

Journal article
Authors Arne Nygren
J. Parapar
J. Pons
K. Meissner
T. Bakken
J. A. Kongsrud
E. Oug
D. Gaeva
A. Sikorski
R. A. Johansen
P. A. Hutchings
N. Lavesque
M. Capa
Published in PLoS ONE
Volume 13
Issue 6
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Keywords trichobranchidae polychaeta, terebellides polychaeta, sequence data, mitochondrial, delimitation, phylogeny, coalescent, diversity, taxonomy, waters, Science & Technology - Other Topics
Subject categories Marine ecology


We investigate mitochondrial (COI, 16S rDNA) and nuclear (ITS2, 28S rDNA) genetic structure of North East Atlantic lineages of Terebellides, a genus of sedentary annelids mainly inhabiting continental shelf and slope sediments. We demonstrate the presence of more than 25 species of which only seven are formally described. Species boundaries are determined with molecular data using a broad range of analytical methods. Many of the new species are common and wide spread, and the majority of the species are found in sympatry with several other species in the complex. Being one of the most regularly encountered annelid taxa in the North East Atlantic, it is more likely to find an undescribed species of Terebellides than a described one.

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