Taksonomska diferencijacija, diverzitet i distribucija vrsta podreda Erpobdelliformes (Annelida; Hirudinea) područja zapadnog Balkana
Taxonomic differentiation, diversity and distribution of species from the suborder Erpobdelliformes (Annelida; Hirudinea) in the western Balkans
Doctoral thesis (Published version)
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The Balkan Peninsula is an important biodiversity hotspot, with leech fauna significantly contributing to the wealth of species of the region. The taxa from the suborder Erpobdelliformes are numerous and a large share of these are endemic. Three most diverse genera are Erpobdella, Dina and Trocheta. Contemporary genetic studies have shown that these are not monophyletic. The aims of this study were to review the fauna of Erpobdelliformes of the western Balkans, to validate the taxonomic characters by molecular analyses, to determine the phylogenetic relations of taxa, and to examine the ecological preferences of the species and their usefulness in biomonitoring. Localities from the Danube and the Sava Rivers in the north to the Prespa and the Dojran Lakes in the south were investigated. Identification was based on somite segmentation, the positions of sexual openings, and on the shape and size of the genital atrium and testisacs. The reliability of identification of taxa was performed at the molecular level through analysis of the COI gene. Nine species were detected. The species Dina lineata (Müller, 1774) was represented with three subspecies (D. lineata lineata (Müller, 1774), D. lineata dinarica Sket, 1968 and Dina lineata montana Sket, 1968). The most frequent taxa were D. lineata dinarica, Erpobdella octoculata (L. 1758) and E. vinlensis (Liskewitz, 1925), which despite overlapping distributions displayed clear differentiation in their ecological preferences. One invasive species from the family Salifidae, Barbronia weberi (R. Blanchard, 1897) was detected. The constructed phylogenetic tree revealed distinct branches that correspond to each of the identified taxa. The fauna of Erpobdelliformes is rich. Three taxa exhibit wide areas of distribution and a high frequency of occurrence, while other taxa are rare. The hydromorphological properties and position of water bodies have the largest impact on the distribution of leeches. Frequently recorded taxa can be used as good bioindicators of water quality. Traditional classification of the family Erpobdellidae is valid for the Balkan fauna. Dina lineata dinarica is a morphologically and phylogenetically differentiated taxon from other taxa in D. lineata and should be treated as a separate species, D. dinarica.
Keywords:Erpobdelliformes; Hirudinea; Leeches; Biodiversity; Balkan Peninsula; Taxonomy; Phylogeny; Hydrogeology; Endemism; Alien species
Source:University of Belgrade, Faculty of Biology, 2020, 1-80
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