Due South: The evolutionary history of Sub-Antarctic and Antarctic Tritoniidae nudibranchs

Juan Moles, Maria I. Berning, Yuri Hooker, Vinicius Padula, Nerida G. Wilson, Michael Schrödl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Web of Science)


The Tritoniidae provides one of the most famous model species for neurophysiology and behaviour, yet a well-developed phylogenetic framework for this family is still incomplete. In this study, we explored the species-level taxonomy, phylogenetic relationships, and geographic distributions of the tritoniid nudibranchs. During numerous expeditions, specimens from southern South America, Sub-Antarctic Islands, and Antarctica were collected, documented alive, and fixed for anatomical descriptions and genetic sequencing. DNA from 167 specimens were extracted and sequenced for mitochondrial (COI, 16S) and nuclear (H3) markers. An additional 109 sequences of all available tritoniids plus additional outgroups were downloaded from GenBank for comparative purposes. Maximum Likelihood under the GHOST model of evolution and Bayesian inference using the GTR + GAMMA model produced congruent topologies from concatenated alignments. The results of ABGD, GMYC, bPTP, and mPTP species delimitation analyses suggest many separately evolving units that do not coincide with traditionally recognized species limits. Southern Ocean Tritoniella and Tritonia species split into several previously unrecognized species. This result is in accordance with the limited dispersal abilities of some southern tritoniids. Along with the most complete phylogeny of Tritoniidae to date, we also provided many taxonomic notes at the species and genus level. Tritoniidae species are yet another example of under-recognized diversity in the Southern Ocean.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107209
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Due South: The evolutionary history of Sub-Antarctic and Antarctic Tritoniidae nudibranchs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this