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

The enigmatic groundwater amphipod Awacaris kawasawai revisited: synonymisation of the genus Sternomoera, with molecular phylogenetic analyses of Awacaris and Sternomoera species (Crustacea : Amphipoda : Pontogeneiidae)

Ko Tomikawa A D , Masaki Kyono B , Keiko Kuribayashi C and Takafumi Nakano A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Science Education, Graduate School of Education, Hiroshima University, Higashihiroshima 739-8524, Japan.

B Sapporo Technical College, 1-22 Odori-nishi 17, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 060-0042, Japan.

C Hokkaido Aquatic Biology, Hokuyo-cho 3-3-5, Eniwa 061-1434, Japan.

D Corresponding author. Email: tomikawa@hiroshima-u.ac.jp

Invertebrate Systematics 31(2) 125-140 https://doi.org/10.1071/IS16037
Submitted: 29 April 2016  Accepted: 9 September 2016   Published: 26 April 2017

Abstract

Amphipod crustaceans are dominant in subterranean habitats, and members of eight genera are endemic to groundwater environments in the Japanese Archipelago. The taxonomic status of two of these genera remains unclear, because their original descriptions were incomplete. The descriptions of the enigmatic subterranean monotypic genus Awacaris and its type species, A. kawasawai Uéno, 1971, are revisited here. Awacaris kawasawai was originally described based on specimens from a subterranean stream at Himise Cave, Tokushima Prefecture, Shikoku, Japan. Recently, a new population of A. kawasawai was found at Saruta Cave, Kochi Prefecture, Shikoku. Detailed observation of the newly collected specimens reveals the presence of sternal gills, which is the diagnostic character of the pontogeneiid genus Sternomoera, making the validity of Sternomoera open to question. Phylogenetic analyses using nuclear 28S rRNA and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I markers demonstrate that A. kawasawai forms a well-supported clade with the subterranean S. morinoi Tomikawa and Ishimaru, 2014. In addition, phylogenetic analysis reveals cryptic diversity in epigean species of Sternomoera. Ancestral state reconstruction suggests that catadromous Sternomoera species have evolved from freshwater ancestors. Based on our morphological and phylogenetic analysis of Awacaris and Sternomoera species, it is concluded here that Sternomoera should be treated as a subjective junior synonym of Awacaris.

Additional keywords: Awacaris, new synonym, Sternomoera.


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