Invertebrate Systematics Invertebrate Systematics Society
Systematics, phylogeny and biogeography
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Morphological assessment supports the recognition of four novel species in the widely distributed velvet worm Peripatopsis moseleyi sensu lato (Onychophora : Peripatopsidae)

Hilke Ruhberg A C and Savel R. Daniels B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Biocentre Grindel and Zoological Museum, University of Hamburg, D-20146 Hamburg, Germany.

B Department of Botany and Zoology, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7602, South Africa.

C Corresponding author. Email: ruhberg@zoologie.uni-hamburg.de

Invertebrate Systematics 27(2) 131-145 https://doi.org/10.1071/IS12069
Submitted: 29 August 2012  Accepted: 16 October 2012   Published: 24 May 2013

Abstract

A recent phylogenetic study based on DNA sequence data (COI + 18S rDNA) together with basic morphological characteristics demonstrated the presence of four novel lineages within the widely distributed South African velvet worm species Peripatopsis moseleyi sensu lato (Onychophora, Peripatopsidae). In the present study, the morphological variation within P. moseleyi (Wood-Mason, 1879) is quantified and the novel species delineated and described. A total of 31 new specimens were collected from the Amathole Mountains in the Eastern Cape while a further 12 specimens were collected from Mount Currie Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. These samples together with selected specimens from the DNA study material were subjected to scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to investigate the presence of diagnostic morphological characters that could potentially be utilised in the delineation of the four novel lineages. The species diagnosis of P. moseleyi (Wood-Mason, 1879) is elucidated and amended since the original type description is inadequate and could apply to several Peripatopsis taxa. A neotype for P. moseleyi is designated because the syntypes appear lost. Four new species of Peripatopsis Pocock, 1894 are described; viz. Peripatopsis birgeri, sp. nov., P. hamerae, sp. nov., P. janni, sp. nov. and P. storchi, sp. nov.

Additional keywords: genetic and morphological variation, integrative taxonomy, neotype designation, novel species, South Africa.


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