Zoological Studies

Vol. 53, 2014

Morphological and molecular differentiation of genus Corbicula suggests that two species are sympatrically distributed in Datong Lake in the Central Yangtze River Basin

Gui-Ping Wang1, Ting Zhang2, Jian Zhang1, De-Liang Li1* and Tiao-Yi Xiao1

1College of Animal Science and Technology, Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha 410128, China
2Centre for Environment and Water Resources, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Central South University, Changsha 410083, China

Background: White and purple color morphs of Corbicula have been identified all over the world. Previous studies suggested that the distinct difference of inner shell color, especially for sympatric individuals, derived mainly from their different genetic constitutions, not just environmental conditions. Two color morphs of Corbicula sympatric in Datong Lake were compared by both morphometric methods (shell length, shell height, and shell width) and genetic analysis (based on the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene COI-mtCOI) to explore their taxonomic relationship.
Morphological analysis showed that there were no significant differences in the values of SH/SL, SW/SL, and SW/SH (P > 0.05) between the two color morphs. Meanwhile, there were no significant differences in measurable parameters among the four mitochondrial COI haplotypes (DT-1, DT-7, DT-19, and DT-31) (P > 0.05). The sequences of four haplotypes (DT-1, DT-7, DT-19, and DT-31) were identical to FW1, FW5, FW4, and FW3, respectively. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis showed that only the sequences of haplotype DT-7 could be digested by the restriction enzyme SacI into two fragments with 200/500 bp. Haplotype DT-31 was found only in one individual (white morph), while each of the other three haplotypes shared with both two color morphs. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the four haplotypes were subdivided into two divergent clades among freshwater clades, and haplotype DT-7 was a divergent sister taxon to the other three.
Conclusions: The results indicated that there were no distinct differences on morphological measures between the two color morphs, and each color morph shared with all four mitochondrial COI haplotypes. Two species (DT-7 referred as Corbicula fluminea and DT-1, DT-19, and DT-31 as Corbicula leana) might coexisted in the Datong Lake. Therefore, a comprehensive study combining nuclear and mitochondrial data along with biological information should be performed to confirm this assumption.

Key words: Corbicula; Mitochondrial DNA COI; Phylogeny; Taxonomy.

*Correspondence: E-mail: lideliang80@aliyun.com