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Open Access Molecular-based estimate of species number, phylogenetic relationships and divergence times for the genus Stenotaenia (Chilopoda, Geophilomorpha) in the Italian region

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Stenotaenia is one of the largest and most widespread genera of geophilid centipedes in the Western Palearctic, with a very uniform morphology and about fifteen species provisionally recognized. For a better understanding of Stenotaenia species-level taxonomy, we have explored the possibility of using molecular data. As a preliminary assay, we sampled twelve populations, mainly from the Italian region, and analyzed partial sequences of the two genes COI and 28S. We employed a DNA-barcoding approach, complemented by a phylogenetic analysis coupled with divergence time estimation. Assuming a barcoding gap of 10–16% K2P pairwise distances, we found evidence for the presence of at least six Stenotaenia species in the Italian region, which started diverging about 50 million years ago, only partially matching with previously recognized species. We found that small-sized oligopodous species belong to a single clade that originated about 33 million years ago, and obtained some preliminary evidence of the related genus Tuoba being nested within Stenotaenia.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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