Zoological Studies

Vol. 56, 2017

(update: 2017.10.17; 11.02)

An Integrated Morphological and Molecular Approach to A New Species Description of Amphipods in the Niphargidae from Two Caves in West of Iran

Mahmood Mamaghani-Shishvan1, Somayeh Esmaeili-Rineh1,*, and Cene Fišer2

1Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran. E-mail: mamaghani_sh@yahoo.com (Mamaghani-Shishvan)
2Department of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Večna pot 111, SI-1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia. E-mail: Cene.Fišer@bf.uni-lj.si

(Received 25 August 2017; Accepted 12 October 2017; Communicated by Benny K.K. Chan)

Mahmood Mamaghani-Shishvan, Somayeh Esmaeili-Rineh, and Cene Fišer (2017) The cave-dwelling fauna of Zagros region (Northern Iran) has been insufficiently studied. Most of the known cave-specialized species (15 out of 21) belong to the genus Niphargus Schiödte, 1849, yet species composition of this genus is not resolved. In this research, we studied Niphargus specimens from two recently sampled caves, Shoei and Darvish-Olya Caves, from Kurdistan Province in Iran. The specimens belong to a single, yet undescribed species, which can be diagnosed using mitochondrial (COI) and nuclear sequences (28S rDNA gene sequences) as well as several morphological traits. Based on combined evidence from morphology and molecular characters, we described and named new species, N. kurdistanensis sp. nov.. The newly described species is phylogenetically nested within the clade comprising Iranian species. We provide a new and revised identification key for Niphargus from the Middle East region. 

Key Words: 28S rDNA, COI, Niphargus, Amphipoda, Morphological characters, Kurdistan, Iran.

Correspondence: E-mail: sesmaeili@razi.ac.ir