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Fifteen species in one: deciphering the Brachionus plicatilis species complex (Rotifera, Monogononta) through DNA taxonomy

Mills, Scott; Alcántara-Rodríguez, J. Arturo; Ciros-Pérez, Jorge; Gómez, Africa; Hagiwara, Atsushi; Galindo, Kayla Hinson; Jersabek, Christian D.; Malekzadeh-Viayeh, Reza; Leasi, Francesca; Lee, Jae-Seong; Mark Welch, David B.; Papakostas, Spiros; Riss, Simone; Segers, Hendrik; Serra, Manuel; Shiel, Russell; Smolak, Radoslav; Snell, Terry W.; Stelzer, Claus Peter; Tang, Cuong Q.; Wallace, Robert L.; Fontaneto, Diego; Walsh, Elizabeth J.


Scott Mills

J. Arturo Alcántara-Rodríguez

Jorge Ciros-Pérez

Atsushi Hagiwara

Kayla Hinson Galindo

Christian D. Jersabek

Reza Malekzadeh-Viayeh

Francesca Leasi

Jae-Seong Lee

David B. Mark Welch

Spiros Papakostas

Simone Riss

Hendrik Segers

Manuel Serra

Russell Shiel

Radoslav Smolak

Terry W. Snell

Claus Peter Stelzer

Cuong Q. Tang

Robert L. Wallace

Diego Fontaneto

Elizabeth J. Walsh


Understanding patterns and processes in biological diversity is a critical task given current and rapid environmental change. Such knowledge is even more essential when the taxa under consideration are important ecological and evolutionary models. One of these cases is the monogonont rotifer cryptic species complex Brachionus plicatilis, which is by far the most extensively studied group of rotifers, is widely used in aquaculture, and is known to host a large amount of unresolved diversity. Here we collate a dataset of previously available and newly generated sequences of COI and ITS1 for 1273 isolates of the B. plicatilis complex and apply three approaches in DNA taxonomy (i.e. ABGD, PTP, and GMYC) to identify and provide support for the existence of 15 species within the complex. We used these results to explore phylogenetic signal in morphometric and ecological traits, and to understand correlation among the traits using phylogenetic comparative models. Our results support niche conservatism for some traits (e.g. body length) and phylogenetic plasticity for others (e.g. genome size).


Mills, S., Alcántara-Rodríguez, J. A., Ciros-Pérez, J., Gómez, A., Hagiwara, A., Galindo, K. H., …Walsh, E. J. (2017). Fifteen species in one: deciphering the Brachionus plicatilis species complex (Rotifera, Monogononta) through DNA taxonomy. Hydrobiologia, 796(1), 39-58.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 28, 2016
Online Publication Date Apr 5, 2016
Publication Date 2017-07
Deposit Date Mar 7, 2016
Publicly Available Date Apr 5, 2016
Journal Hydrobiologia
Print ISSN 0018-8158
Electronic ISSN 1573-5117
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 796
Issue 1
Pages 39-58
Keywords Biodiversity, COI, Cryptic species, Evolution, ITS1, Phylogenetic comparative methods, Zooplankton
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article published in: Hydrobiologia, 2016. The final publication is available at Springer via


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