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Web Ecology An open-access peer-reviewed journal
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Volume 18, issue 2 | Copyright
Web Ecol., 18, 115-119, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Standard article 11 Jul 2018

Standard article | 11 Jul 2018

Towards the unravelling of the slug A. ater–A. rufus complex (Gastropoda Arionidae): new genetic approaches

María L. Peláez1, Antonio G. Valdecasas1, Daniel Martinez2, and Jose L. Horreo1 María L. Peláez et al.
  • 1National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNC-CSIC), Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, C/José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain
  • 2Environmental management services SIGMA SL, C/ Cimadevilla no. 15, Esc. A 2 A, 33003 Oviedo, Spain

Abstract. The genus Arion includes several slug species, some of which are considered to be a pest to both cultivated and wild flora. Within this genus, the Arion ater complex comprises two different morphological forms: Arion rufus and A. ater, but there is no consensus about their species status. Their phylogenetic relationships have been recently solved, both of them belonging to different phylogenetic clades, but their species status is still unclear (as different clades are not always different species). For this reason, the aim of this study was to precisely identify these species status by employing the up-to-date multi-rate Poisson tree processes (mPTP) methodology as well as the classic methodology of genetic distances, both of which have three different mitochondrial genes. Results confirmed that both A. ater and A. rufus are independent evolutionary clades, and the high genetic distances between them (K2P distances ranged between 9.1 and 16.4%, depending on genes) together with mPTP analyses, supported the idea that the clades correspond to different species. Results will be useful for the classification of these specific species as well as for developing proper pest control methodologies and conservation policies in both cultivated and wild plants.

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The Arion ater complex comprises two morphological forms: A. rufus and A. ater, and no consensus exists about their species status. Both forms belong to different phylogenetic clades, and we have investigated the correspondence to different species. To do it, we analysed three mitochondrial genes with two different genetic approaches (one classic, one cutting-edge). Results suggested that both clades, thus forms, are different species, and shed light on the taxonomic classification of the group.
The Arion ater complex comprises two morphological forms: A. rufus and A. ater, and no consensus...