Eur. J. Entomol. 103 (2): 443-458, 2006 | 10.14411/eje.2006.058

Testing molecular barcodes: Invariant mitochondrial DNA sequences vs the larval and adult morphology of West Palaearctic Pandasyopthalmus species (Diptera: Syrphidae: Paragini)

Santos ROJO1, Gunilla STÅHLS2, Celeste PÉREZ-BAÑÓN1, M. ÁNGELES MARCOS-GARCÍA1
1 Instituto Universitario CIBIO (Centro Iberoamericano de la Biodiversidad), Universidad de Alicante, Alicante E-03080, Spain; e-mail: santos.rojo@ua.es
2 Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 17, FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland

The intra- and interspecific variability in the West Palaearctic tibialis-group species of the subgenus Pandasyopthalmus (Diptera: Syrphidae: Paragus) was analysed. Novel immature and molecular characters were studied and the traditionally used adult characters reviewed with the aim of establishing the status of the most widespread taxa of the tibialis-group in the Palaearctic region. Moreover, a review of the morphology of the larvae of the subgenus Pandasyopthalmus is also presented and includes the first description of the chaetotaxy of the larval head of Syrphidae. The larval morphology showed a continuum between two extremes. There is intraspecific variability in the male genitalia characters typically used for diagnostic species identification in this group. Molecular characters of the mitochondrial cytochrome c-oxidase subunit I (COI) was invariant for the West Palaearctic Pandasyopthalmus taxa analysed. Despite the fact that no great differences were found when compared with Afrotropical tibialis-group individuals (uncorrected pairwise divergence 0.17-0.35%), the divergences of the West Palaearctic vs. Nearctic and Austral-Oriental tibialis-group taxa varied between 1.15-2.75% (uncorrected pairwise divergence). Molecular characters of the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer region (ITS2) revealed several molecular haplotypes of a dinucleotide repeat that was not constrained to morphospecies or to populations of the same geographic origin. The closely related and morphologically similar species of the tibialis-group known from the West Palaearctic region are separable in most cases only by the shape and size of male postgonites. The results of this study support the presence of a single polymorphic taxon in the West Palaearctic region (or a very recent origin of the taxa studied). Moreover larval morphology and the lack of a clear relation between ITS2 haplotypes and the geographic distribution or adult morphology, support the taxonomic implications of barcode taxonomy based on mitochondrial DNA for this species-group of Syrphidae.

Keywords: Diptera, Syrphidae, Paragus, barcoding, immature stages, morphology, ITS2, COI, Palaearctic

Received: May 6, 2005; Accepted: September 9, 2005; Published: April 6, 2006

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