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Genetic and morphological analyses indicate that the Australian endemic scorpion Urodacus yaschenkoi (Scorpiones: Urodacidae) is a species complex

Luna-Ramirez, Karen, Miller, Adam D. and Rašić, Gordana 2017, Genetic and morphological analyses indicate that the Australian endemic scorpion Urodacus yaschenkoi (Scorpiones: Urodacidae) is a species complex, PeerJ, vol. 5, pp. 1-21, doi: 10.7717/peerj.2759.

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Title Genetic and morphological analyses indicate that the Australian endemic scorpion Urodacus yaschenkoi (Scorpiones: Urodacidae) is a species complex
Formatted title Genetic and morphological analyses indicate that the Australian endemic scorpion Urodacus yaschenkoi (Scorpiones: Urodacidae) is a species complex
Author(s) Luna-Ramirez, Karen
Miller, Adam D.ORCID iD for Miller, Adam D. orcid.org/0000-0002-1632-7206
Rašić, Gordana
Journal name PeerJ
Volume number 5
Article ID e2759
Start page 1
End page 21
Total pages 21
Publisher [PeerJ, Inc.]
Place of publication san Diego, Calif.
Publication date 2017-01
ISSN 2167-8359
Keyword(s) 16S and 28S rRNA
Australian scorpion
COXI
Cryptic species
Morphology
Phylogeography
Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
MODEL
DELIMITATION
BIOGEOGRAPHY
SEQUENCES
EVOLUTION
VENOM
DIVERSIFICATION
DISPERSAL
PHYLOGENY
Summary Background
Australian scorpions have received far less attention from researchers than their overseas counterparts. Here we provide the first insight into the molecular variation and evolutionary history of the endemic Australian scorpion Urodacus yaschenkoi. Also known as the inland robust scorpion, it is widely distributed throughout arid zones of the continent and is emerging as a model organism in biomedical research due to the chemical nature of its venom.

Methods
We employed Bayesian Inference (BI) methods for the phylogenetic reconstructions and divergence dating among lineages, using unique haplotype sequences from two mitochondrial loci (COXI, 16S) and one nuclear locus (28S). We also implemented two DNA taxonomy approaches (GMYC and PTP/dPTP) to evaluate the presence of cryptic species. Linear Discriminant Analysis was used to test whether the linear combination of 21 variables (ratios of morphological measurements) can predict individual’s membership to a putative species.

Results
Genetic and morphological data suggest that U. yaschenkoi is a species complex. High statistical support for the monophyly of several divergent lineages was found both at the mitochondrial loci and at a nuclear locus. The extent of mitochondrial divergence between these lineages exceeds estimates of interspecific divergence reported for other scorpion groups. The GMYC model and the PTP/bPTP approach identified major lineages and several sub-lineages as putative species. Ratios of several traits that approximate body shape had a strong predictive power (83–100%) in discriminating two major molecular lineages. A time-calibrated phylogeny dates the early divergence at the onset of continental-wide aridification in late Miocene and Pliocene, with finer-scale phylogeographic patterns emerging during the Pleistocene. This structuring dynamics is congruent with the diversification history of other fauna of the Australian arid zones.

Discussion
Our results indicate that the taxonomic status of U. yaschenkoi requires revision, and we provide recommendations for such future efforts. A complex evolutionary history and extensive diversity highlights the importance of conserving U. yaschenkoi populations from different Australian arid zones in order to preserve patterns of endemism and evolutionary potential.
Language eng
DOI 10.7717/peerj.2759
Field of Research 060899 Zoology not elsewhere classified
060409 Molecular Evolution
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2017, Luna-Ramirez et al.
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30093470

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.