Genetic divergence of tanaidaceans (Crustacea: Peracarida) with low dispersal ability


  • Kim Larsen CIIMAR (Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental), LMCEE (Laboratory of Marine Community Ecology and Evolution)
  • Fernando Tuya BIOGES, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
  • Elsa Froufe CIIMAR (Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental), LMCEE (Laboratory of Marine Community Ecology and Evolution)



genetic divergence, morphological differences, 28S, H3, COI, Crustacea, Tanaidacea, Zeuxo


In this study, the phylogeographic patterns of nuclear, ribosomal and mtDNA gene fragments of five tanaidacean species (Zeuxo, Tanaidae) from the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean Sea were investigated. We aimed to interpret results in the framework of current hypotheses on the distribution of small invertebrates with very limited dispersal ability. Evidence for a surprisingly high genetic divergence was found for intertidal tanaidaceans from the North Atlantic. This is a result of poor dispersal potential, as tanaidaceans have direct development, no pelagic stage, and very limited swimming capacity. However, lower genetic divergence was found between an intertidal tanaid species from the North Atlantic and two from the North Pacific, which suggests a scenario of recent colonization following the last glacial maximum. The species Zeuxo normani was found to be a species complex consisting, at least, of Z. normani (California), Z. cf. normani (Japan), Z. cf. normani (Australia), Z. sp. A (Korea), and Z. holdichi (Spain and France). Our results showed that traditional species identification underestimates tanaidacean diversity and that what have been previously perceived as reliable diagnostic morphological characters, are, however, variable and unreliable.


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How to Cite

Larsen K, Tuya F, Froufe E. Genetic divergence of tanaidaceans (Crustacea: Peracarida) with low dispersal ability. scimar [Internet]. 2014Mar.30 [cited 2023Oct.4];78(1):81-90. Available from:




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