Phylogeny and species delimitation of North European Lumbricillus (Clitellata, Enchytraeidae)


The enchytraeid genus Lumbricillus comprises about 80 described species of clitellate worms, which are up to a few centimetres long, and they mostly inhabit the littoral zone of nontropical marine and brackish waters world-wide. The phylogeny of this genus is poorly studied, but previous work has suggested that Lumbricillus is a non-monophyletic group. In this study, species boundaries and the phylogeny of this genus is re-assessed using more than 300 DNA-barcoded specimens (using COI mtDNA), part of which was also sequenced for two additional mitochondrial and four nuclear molecular markers. Statistical and coalescent based applications were used for the delimitation of a total of 24 species, of which 20 were identified as belonging to 17 described morphospecies; one morphospecies was found to be a complex of four delimited species, and another four delimited species could not be matched with any described species. Furthermore, gene trees, concatenation and multispecies coalescent based species trees were estimated using Bayesian inference. The estimated phylogenies confirm a non-monophyletic Lumbricillus as L. semifuscus is clearly excluded from the genus. Furthermore, the placement of a monophyletic clade consisting of L. arenarius, L. dubius, and an unidentified species varies between analyses; they are either found as the sister-group to the genus Grania or as sister-group to the remaining Lumbricillus, where the latter relationship is supported by the multispecies coalescent, which we consider as the most reliable method.

Zoologica Scripta, 46: 96-110