Zoological Studies

Vol. 62, 2023

(update: 2023.7.21)

Taxonomy and Phylogeography of the Freshwater Crab Geothelphusa tawu Species Complex (Crustacea: Decapoda: Potamidae) from Southern Taiwan and Offshore Islets

Hsi-Te Shih1,2,,*, Jhih-Wei Hsu1,, Kai Chang1,, and Min-Wan Chen1
doi:10.6620/ZS.2023.62-37

1Department of Life Science, National Chung Hsing University, 250 Kuo Kuang Road, Taichung 402, Taiwan. *Correspondence: E-mail: htshih@dragon.nchu.edu.tw (Shih)
E-mail: rghsn550327@yahoo.com.tw (Hsu); chang.coconut851002@gmail.com (Chang); minwan0225@gmail.com (Chen)
2Research Center for Global Change Biology, National Chung Hsing University, 250, Kuo Kuang Road, Taichung 402, Taiwan

HTS, JWH and KC contributed equally to this paper.
(Received 16 October 2022 / Accepted 4 May 2023 / Published -- 2023)
Communicated by Benny K.K. Chan

The freshwater crabs Geothelphusa tawu Shy, Ng & Yu, 1994, G. lutao Shy, Ng & Yu, 1994 and G. lanyu Shy, Ng & Yu, 1994 from southern Taiwan and the offshore islets, Lyudao (Green I.) and Lanyu (Orchid I.) are closely related in morphology and genetics, and have been proposed to be the same species. Examination of a series of specimens collected from the distributional ranges of the three species indicated that key characters of the ambulatory legs and the male first gonopod (G1) are too variable to support the identity of three species. Based on the mitochondrial 16S rDNA and cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) sequences, the phylogenetic analysis did not recover three clades corresponding to the three species, but only a main clade without further clear grouping. The interspecific distances of nucleotides are also too small to support the species delimitation. We conclude that the three species should be treated as a single species. Additionally, unique haplotypes of COI have been found in Lyudao and Lanyu, which are hypothesized as two founder populations that colonized the islets from the Taiwan main island during glacial maxima.

Key words: Taxonomy, Phylogeography, 16S rDNA, COI, Founder populations, Morphology, Glaciations

Citation: Shih HT, Hsu JW, Chang K, Chen MW. 2023. Taxonomy and phylogeography of the freshwater crab Geothelphusa tawu species complex (Crustacea: Decapoda: Potamidae) from southern Taiwan and offshore islets. Zool Stud 62:37. doi:10.6620/ZS.2023.62-37.