Scientia Marina, Vol 80, No 4 (2016)

Sympatric sibling species: the case of Caloria elegans and Facelina quatrefagesi (Gastropoda: Nudibranchia)

Giulia Furfaro
Dipartimento di Scienze, Università “Roma Tre”, Italy

Paolo Mariottini
Dipartimento di Scienze, Università “Roma Tre”, Italy

Maria Vittoria Modica
Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie “Charles Darwin”, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Italy

Egidio Trainito , Italy

Mauro Doneddu , Italy

Marco Oliverio
Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie “Charles Darwin”, Università di Roma “La Sapienza", Italy


The aeolid nudibranch Caloria elegans (Facelinidae) is quite common in the Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic Ocean and is easily recognized by the presence of a typical black spot at the apical portion of its cerata. Facelina quatrefagesi (Facelinidae) was long considered as a synonym of C. elegans until recently, when it was re-evaluated as a valid species based mainly on rhinophore morphology. In order to definitively assess the status of these aeolid taxa, we employed an integrative taxonomy approach using the nuclear H3 and the two mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I and 16S markers. The molecular analyses clearly showed that, although morphologically closely related to C. elegans, F. quatrefagesi is a valid species.


integrative taxonomy; molluscs; Facelinidae; systematics; phylogeny

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