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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 28(3)

A complete species phylogeny of the marine midge Pontomyia (Diptera : Chironomidae) reveals a cosmopolitan species and a new synonym

Danwei Huang A B C E, Peter S. Cranston D and Lanna Cheng B

A Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
B Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.
C Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543, Singapore.
D Evolution, Ecology and Genetics, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia.
E Corresponding author. Email: huangdanwei@nus.edu.sg

Invertebrate Systematics 28(3) 277-286 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/IS13059
Submitted: 23 November 2013  Accepted: 4 February 2014   Published: 30 June 2014

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Pontomyia (Diptera : Chironomidae) is an exclusively marine and flightless insect genus with four described species from the Indo-Pacific and one undescribed taxon known only by its larvae, pupal skins and females from the western Atlantic. A previous study of relationships among three of the Indo-Pacific species reported each of them to be monophyletic, with high genetic diversity within P. natans Edwards, 1926, the type species, and P. pacifica Tokunaga, 1932. The evolutionary affinities of the Australian endemic P. cottoni Womersley, 1937, which resembles P. natans, as well as the putative Atlantic species are hitherto undetermined. A complete molecular phylogeny of the genus based on two nuclear and two mitochondrial DNA markers indicates that P. cottoni and a Puerto Rican (Atlantic) larval population are nested within the P. natans clade. Furthermore, P. natans and P. cottoni are inseparable in all morphological characters used previously to distinguish them. Therefore, we synonymise P. cottoni with P. natans, syn. nov., whose known range now encompasses all three ocean basins after including the Puerto Rican population. This distribution warrants further investigation into the life history of Pontomyia, a midge with one of the shortest known adult lifespans among insects.

Additional keywords: biogeography, Chironominae, Insecta, phylogenetics, Tanytarsini, taxonomy, tide pools.


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