Hidden diversity under morphology–based identifications of widespread invasive species: the case of the ‘well–known’ hydromedusa Craspedacusta sowerbii Lankester 1880

Oualid, J. A.  Iazza, B.  Tamsouri, N. M.  El Aamri, F.  Moukrim, A.  López–González, P. J. 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2019.42.0301

Abstract

A relatively scarce number of morphological features available for delimiting closely related species and an increasingly worrisome scenario on Global Climate Change causing the rapid dispersion of invasive alien species can lead to the rapid spread of reports of a given species around the world. Craspedacusta sowerbii Lankester, 1880 is considered the most widespread freshwater jellyfish species and has been reported in numerous locations on all continents except Antarctica. Recently, a few medusae attributed to C. sowerbii were collected from a water reservoir (Bin El Ouidan) in Morocco, this being the first confirmed record of the species from North Africa. The morphology of these newly collected specimens agrees well with previous descriptions, but mitochondrial (Cox1 and 16S) and nuclear ITS (ITS1–5,8S–ITS2) molecular data lead to a discussion of a more complex general view concerning the number of species, synonyms and nomenclatural problems hidden behind the reports of Craspedacusta sowerbii.

Key words

Craspedacusta, Cryptic species, Medusa, Invasive species, NIS, Cox1, 16S, ITS, Morocco

Reception date: 07 IX 18  |   Acceptation date: 21 III 19  |   Publication date: 25 VI 19

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