Zoological Studies

Vol. 62, 2023

(update: 2023.2.2)

Cryptic Genetic Diversity in the Coastal Isopod Alloniscus oahuensis from the Pacific Ocean

Carlos A. Santamaria1,* and Maddy R. Koch2

1Department of Biology, College of Natural Health and Sciences, The University of Tampa, Tampa, FL 33606, USA. *Correspondence: E-mail: csantamaria@ut.edu (Santamaria)
2Biology Program, College of Science and Mathematics, University of South Florida, Sarasota, FL 34243, USA. E-mail: MRKoch@salud.unm.edu (Koch)

(Received 29 July 2022 / Accepted 14 January 2023 / Published -- 2023)
Communicated by Benny K.K. Chan

The isopod sub-order Oniscidea includes over 3,700 species and is known to occur in all terrestrial environments, except those at extreme elevations and polar latitudes. Current estimates of the biodiversity of the Oniscidea may be underestimates, as recent molecular studies have uncovered high levels of cryptic diversity in several taxa in the sub-order. High levels of cryptic diversity have been found in coastal species, species from remote and isolated regions, and species with complex taxonomic histories. Alloniscus oahuensis is a good candidate to harbor cryptic diversity, as it is a coastal isopod species with a geographic range that spans several remote and isolated archipelagos in the Pacific Ocean and that has a complex taxonomic history. In this study, we use sequences for three mitochondrial and one nuclear genes to determine whether A. oahuensis harbors highly divergent lineages that may represent cryptic species. By characterizing 60+ A. oahuensis individuals from 17 localities from various Pacific Ocean archipelagos we uncovered two deeply divergent lineages with disjunct distributions. The levels of genetic divergence observed amongst the two lineages match or exceed those reported across other cryptic species in the Oniscidea, suggesting that A. oahuensis may represent a cryptic species complex in need of a taxonomic revision. Within lineage diversities were extremely low indicating that A. oahuensis lineages may spread across the Pacific Ocean recently and potentially due to anthropogenic activity.

Key words: Oniscidea, cryptic species, Hawaiian Islands, Alloniscus brevis, Mitochondrial.

Citation: Santamaria CA, Koch MR. 2023. Cryptic genetic diversity in the coastal isopod Alloniscus oahuensis from the Pacific Ocean. Zool Stud 62:14.

Supplementary materials: Supplementary file