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DNA taxonomy of the potamid freshwater crabs from Northern Africa (Decapoda, Potamidae)

  • Autori: Federico Marrone, Luca Vecchioni, Alan Deidun, Youness Mabrouki, Abdeslam Arab, Marco Arculeo
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2020
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
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The Mediterranean area, from southern Balkans to western Maghreb, is inhabited by the Potamon subgenus Euthelphusa, with three currently recognised species. The Maghrebian species P. (E.) algeriense is isolated from other Potamon species by the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert, and nearly no molecular data are currently available for this taxon. Present study investigated the mtDNA and nuDNA diversity in Potamon algeriense s.l. with the aims of exploring its molecular diversity pattern throughout its known distribution range, and testing the possible presence of cryptic taxa currently lumped under this binomen. The phylogenetic and DNA taxonomy analyses showed the presence of two well‐supported clades of species rank within P. algeriense s.l, with an eastern clade including the populations from Tunisia and Numidia, and a western, highly structured clade including the populations from central Algeria and Morocco. In agreement with a typical Maghrebian biogeographic pattern, the distribution of these two species shows a clear east–west divide, with a disjunction zone located in Kabylia, and a strong link between molecular diversity and segregation within different hydrographical basins is evident. The Maghreb thus proved to host an unexpectedly high genetic diversity of, and to constitute a biodiversity hot‐spot for, the Potamon subgenus Euthelphusa. In the light of the existence of two well‐characterised species currently lumped under P. algeriense s.l., and of their noteworthy molecular structuring, the status of Maghrebian Potamon populations should be re‐assessed for both the species present in the area, which are to be considered as independent management units.