Zoological Studies

Vol. 53, 2014

The diaptomid fauna of Israel (Copepoda, Calanoida, Diaptomidae), with notes on the systematics of Arctodiaptomus similis (Baird, 1859) and Arctodiaptomus irregularis Dimentman & Por, 1985 stat. rev

Federico Marrone1*, Adam Petrusek2, Giuseppe Alfonso3 and Marco Arculeo1

1Dipartimento STEBICEF, Sezione di Biologia animale ed Antropologia biologica, Universit? degli Studi di Palermo, via Archirafi 18, 90123 Palermo, Italy
2Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Viničn? 7, 128 44 Prague 2, Czech Republic
3Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche e Ambientali - Di.S.Te.B.A, Laboratorio di Zoogeografia e Fauna, Universit? del Salento, via Monteroni campus Ecotekne, 73100 Lecce, Italy

Background: To date, only scarce information is available about the diaptomid copepods of the Middle East despite the ecological and biogeographical importance of the family Diaptomidae in the inland waters of the Holarctic region. Moreover, the taxonomic status of some of the taxa occurring in the area is in need of revision. We studied crustaceans collected from temporary and permanent lentic water bodies in Israel with the aim of providing an updated census of the diaptomid copepods occurring in the country. Furthermore, we morphologically and genetically analysed samples of Arctodiaptomus similis s.l. to shed light on its taxonomy.
Five diaptomid taxa were collected during this survey. Among these, Phyllodiaptomus blanci is new for the country and the whole circum-Mediterranean area and might be an allochthonous species of eastern origin. Within the collected samples, we singled out two parapatric groups of populations within A. similis s.l.; these consistently differ both based on morphology (chaetotaxy of the left male antennule) and molecular data (divergence over 17% at the mitochondrial gene for the cytochrome b). We thus attribute the full species rank to Arctodiaptomus irregularis Dimentman & Por, 1985 stat. rev., originally described as a subspecies of the widespread species Arctodiaptomus similis (Baird, 1859).
Conclusions: We critically evaluated all species hitherto reported for Israeli inland waters. Considering both the confirmed literature data and the new findings, Israeli diaptomid fauna is composed of at least seven species. However, the need for further surveys in the Middle East and for detailed systematic revisions of some controversial taxa is stressed. Our results on the systematics of A. similis s.l. illustrate the importance of implementing molecular analyses when investigating diversity patterns of groups which are difficult to resolve based on morphology alone.

Key words: Copepod diversity; Middle East; Hemidiaptomus gurneyi canaanita; Arctodiaptomus similis; Arctodiaptomus irregularis stat. rev; Phyllodiaptomus blanci; Neolovenula alluaudi.

*Correspondence: E-mail: federico.marrone@unipa.it