Polyphyly of the traditional family Flabellinidae affects a major group of Nudibranchia: aeolidacean taxonomic reassessment with descriptions of several new families, genera, and species (Mollusca, Gastropoda)
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionZookeys. 2017, 717, 1-139. 10.3897/zookeys.717.21885
The Flabellinidae, a heterogeneous assembly of supposedly plesiomorphic to very derived sea slug groups, have not yet been addressed by integrative studies. Here novel material of rarely seen Arctic taxa as well as North Atlantic, North and South Pacific, and tropical Indo-West Pacific flabellinid species is investigated morpho-anatomically and with multi-locus markers (partial COI, 16S rDNA, 28S rDNA and H3) which were generated and analysed in a comprehensive aeolid taxon sampling. It was found that the current family Flabellinidae is polyphyletic and its phylogeny and taxonomic patterns cannot be understood without considering members from all the Aeolidacean families and, based on a robust phylogenetic hypothesis, morpho-anatomical evolution of aeolids is more complex than suspected in earlier works and requires reclassification of the taxon. Morphological diversity of Flabellinidae is corroborated by molecular divergence rates and supports establishing three new families (Apataidae fam. n., Flabellinopsidae fam. n., Samlidae fam. n.), 16 new genera, 13 new species, and two new subspecies among the former Flabellinidae. Two families, namely Coryphellidae and Paracoryphellidae, are restored and traditional Flabellinidae is considerably restricted. The distinctness of the recently described family Unidentiidae is confirmed by both morphological and molecular data. Several species complexes among all ex-“Flabellinidae” lineages are recognised using both morphological and molecular data. The present study shows that Facelinidae and Aeolidiidae, together with traditional “Tergipedidae”, deeply divide traditional “Flabellinidae.” Diagnoses for all aeolidacean families are therefore provided and additionally two new non-flabellinid families (Abronicidae fam. n. and Murmaniidae fam. n.) within traditional tergipedids are established to accommodate molecular and morphological disparity. To address relationships and disparity, we propose a new family system for aeolids. Here the aeolidacean species are classified into at least 102 genera and 24 families. Operational rules for integration of morphological and molecular data for taxonomy are suggested.