Eur. J. Entomol. 114: 373-378, 2017 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2017.048

Molecular taxonomy of the Sympetrum vulgatum (Odonata: Libellulidae) complex in the West Palaearctic

Joan C. HINOJOSA1, Ricard MARTÍN2, Xavier MAYNOU2, Roger VILA1
1 Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta 37, E-08003 Barcelona; e-mails: sirsphingidae2@gmail.com, roger.vila@csic.es
2 Catalan Odonata Study Group, Institució Catalana d'Història Natural, Carrer del Carme 47, E-08001 Barcelona, Spain; e-mails: rmarti78@xtec.cat, xavier.maynou@gmail.com

The Sympetrum vulgatum (Linnaeus, 1758) complex is composed of the subspecies S. vulgatum vulgatum, S. vulgatum decoloratum (Selys, 1884) and S. vulgatum ibericum Ocharan, 1985 in the West Palaearctic. These taxa have parapatric distributions and noticeable morphological differences in colour and body size, and their taxonomic status is debated. Here we revise the systematics of this group using molecular taxonomy, including molecular analyses of mitochondrial (cytochrome c oxidase subunit I, COI) and nuclear (internal transcribed spacer, ITS1) DNA taking into account known morphological differences. Each subspecies has a unique and differentiated COI haplotype, although divergences among them are low (0.4% maximum uncorrected p-distance). The subspecies are not differentiated by the nuclear marker ITS1. The genetic results for these taxa contrast with the deep divergence of the sister species S. striolatum (Charpentier, 1840). Given current evidence, we propose to maintain the subspecific status of the S. vulgatum complex and hypothesize their biogeographical history. It is likely that the three subspecies became isolated during one of the latest glacial periods, each in a different refugium: S. vulgatum ibericum possibly occupied the Iberian Peninsula, S. vulgatum vulgatum the Balkan Peninsula or territories further east and S. vulgatum decoloratum Anatolia.

Keywords: Odonata, Libellulidae, Sympetrum vulgatum, molecular systematics, phylogeography, molecular taxonomy, mitochondrial DNA, nuclear DNA

Received: October 26, 2016; Accepted: August 24, 2017; Published online: October 2, 2017

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