The Kuril Islands are a volcanic archipelago located between Hokkaido and Kamchatka. In this study we investigated earthworm fauna of three of the Southern Kuril Islands, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Yuri, using both morphological analysis and DNA barcoding. Our results highlight the potential of DNA barcoding for studying earthworm fauna: while previous studies reported only six earthworm species and subspecies on the Southern Kurils, we detected 15 genetic clusters. Six of them correspond to European cosmopolites; six, to Asian species, and three, to unidentified species. While no European earthworms were found on Yuri that is uninhabited since WWII, they dominated on larger and inhabited Kunashir and Shikotan, suggesting that they are recent invaders. Of the six Asian species, five had cox1 sequences identical or very closely related to published sequences from the mainland or the Japanese islands and thus are recent invaders.
Earthworms, Megadrili, cox1, Barcoding, Kuril islands
Reception date: 19 V 17 | Acceptation date: 5 VI 17 | Publication date: 20 X 17
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