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Integrating molecular and morphological approaches to uncover the unknown world of seabird feather mites from the Cape Verde Archipelago

AuthorsStefan, Laura M.; Gómez-Díaz, Elena ; McCoy, Karen D.; González-Solís, Jacob
Issue DateJan-2012
CitationI Congreso Ibérico de Sistemática Animal (2012)
AbstractAlthough parasites represent a substantial portion of global biodiversity, the majority of extant parasite species remain undescribed and a full characterization of parasite biodiversity is essential to understand the processes and mechanisms that have lead to it. Mites are a particularly interesting group in this sense because of their extraordinary ecological and evolutionary diversity. Feather mites (Acari: Analgoidea) are highly specialized ectosymbionts adapted to inhabit well-defined microhabitats on a bird´s body. About 2000 species of feather mites have been described, but is assumed that the actual number of species is 10 000 or more. In this study, we investigated feather mite morphological and molecular diversity within the seabird community of the Cape Verde islands. We analyzed dust-ruffling samples from six seabird species (Procellariiformes and Phaethontiformes) and five islands. Almost all feather mites corresponded to new species and grouped into eight genera (Zachvatkinia, Rhinozachvatkinia, Microspalax, Brephosceles, Alloptes, Laminalloptes, Onychalloptes and Ingrassia). The procellariiform seabirds harbored a distinct acarofauna compared with the Phaethontiformes, Ingrassia being the only genus shared by the two seabird families. The greatest number of feather mite genera (five) was found on shearwaters (Calonectris edwardsii and Puffinus boydi), which are also the only hosts that harbor mites from genus Alloptes. Molecular data based on two mitochondrial genes (12S and 16S rRNA) confirmed morphological results and showed high levels of cryptic diversity at the genus level. These results highlight the vast, largely unrecognized; biodiversity supported by seabird communities and illustrate the need of integrating molecular and morphological approaches for fully characterizing parasite cryptic species.
DescriptionTrabajo presentado en el I Congreso Ibérico de Sistemática Animal (CISA2012), celebrado en Madrid del 17 al 19 de enero de 2012.
Appears in Collections:(IBE) Comunicaciones congresos
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