Preprint Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Species Delimitation in Sea Anemones (Anthozoa: Actiniaria): From Traditional Taxonomy to Integrative Approaches

Version 1 : Received: 8 November 2019 / Approved: 10 November 2019 / Online: 10 November 2019 (16:39:41 CET)

How to cite: Spano, C.A.; Canales-Aguirre, C.B.; Musleh, S.S.; Häussermann, V.; Gomez-Uchida, D. Species Delimitation in Sea Anemones (Anthozoa: Actiniaria): From Traditional Taxonomy to Integrative Approaches. Preprints 2019, 2019110118 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201911.0118.v1). Spano, C.A.; Canales-Aguirre, C.B.; Musleh, S.S.; Häussermann, V.; Gomez-Uchida, D. Species Delimitation in Sea Anemones (Anthozoa: Actiniaria): From Traditional Taxonomy to Integrative Approaches. Preprints 2019, 2019110118 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201911.0118.v1).

Abstract

The present review provides an in-depth look into the complex topic of delimiting species in sea anemones. For most part of history this has been based on a small number of variable anatomic traits, many of which are used indistinctly across multiple taxonomic ranks. Early attempts to classify this group succeeded to comprise much of the diversity known to date, yet numerous taxa were mostly characterized by the lack of features rather than synapomorphies. Of the total number of species names within Actiniaria, about 77% are currently considered valid and more than half of them have several synonyms. Besides the nominal problem caused by large intraspecific variations and ambiguously described characters, genetic studies show that morphological convergences are also widespread among molecular phylogenies. On the contrary, spatial distribution has been emerging as a more reliable parameter to explain cryptic relationships among sea anemones. Integrative approaches and genome-wide data have been especially helpful to unveil the mechanisms behind the speciation process, which is typically marked by large genetic differences among populations, even from neighbouring localities. This paper further discusses current gaps in our knowledge and offers some future directions on how to address the issue of species delimitation in the extremely polymorphic group of sea anemones.

Subject Areas

Cnidaria; Hexacorallia; systematics; taxonomy; evolution

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