Morphological and molecular affinities of two East Asian species of Stenhelia (Crustacea, Copepoda, Harpacticoida)

Tomislav Karanovic, Kichoon Kim, Wonchoel Lee
ZooKeys 2014, (411): 105-43
Definition of monophyletic supraspecific units in the harpacticoid subfamily Stenheliinae Brady, 1880 has been considered problematic and hindered by the lack of molecular or morphology based phylogenies, as well as by incomplete original descriptions of many species. Presence of a modified seta on the fifth leg endopod has been suggested recently as a synapomorphy of eight species comprising the redefined genus Stenhelia Boeck, 1865, although its presence was not known in S. pubescens Chislenko, 1978. We redescribe this species in detail here, based on our freshly collected topotypes from the Russian Far East. The other species redescribed in this paper was collected from the southern coast of South Korea and identified as the Chinese S. taiae Mu & Huys, 2002, which represents its second record ever and the first one in Korea. A fragment of the mtCOI gene was successfully PCR-amplified from two specimens of each species, which represents the first molecular data for this genus, and from additional 19 specimens belonging to six different species of other stenheliins from Korea and Russia. Reconstructed phylogenies confirm previously postulated monophyly of Stenhelia and polyphyly of the closely related genus Delavalia Brady, 1869. Average pairwise maximum likelihood distances between S. pubescens and S. taiae are only slightly above 10%, suggesting a very close relationship despite numerous newly discovered micro-morphological differences and despite macro-morphological similarities being probable plesiomorphies.

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