Evidence of cryptic diversity in freshwater Macrobrachium prawns from Indochinese riverine systems revealed by DNA barcode, species delimitation and phylogenetic approaches
Lect. Warut Siriwut and Asist. Prof. Ekgachai Jeratthitikul
The diversity of Indochinese prawns in genus Macrobrachium is enormous due to the habitat diversification and broad tributary networks of two river basins: the Chao Phraya and the Mekong. Despite long-standing interest in SE-Asian decapod diversity, the subregional Macrobrachium fauna is still not yet comprehensively clarified in terms of taxonomic identification or genetic diversification. In this study, integrative taxonomic approaches including morphological examination, DNA barcoding, and molecular species delimitation were used to emphasize the broad scale systematics of Macrobrachium prawns in Indochina. Twenty-seven nominal species were successfully re-verified by traditional and molecular taxonomy. Barcode gap analysis supported broad overlapping of species boundaries. Taxonomic ambiguity of several deposited samples in the public database is related to inter- and intraspecific genetic divergence as indicated by BOLD discordance. Diagnostic nucleotide positions were found in six Macrobrachium species. Eighteen additional putative lineages are herein assigned using the consensus of species delimitation methods. Genetic divergence indicates the possible existence of cryptic species in four morphologically complex and wide-ranging species: M. lanchesteri, M. niphanae, M. sintangense, and some members of the M. pilimanus group. The geographical distribution of some species supports the connections and barriers attributed to paleo-historical events of SE-Asian rivers and land masses. Results of this study show explicitly the importance of freshwater ecosystems in Indochinese subregions, especially for the Mekong River Basin due to its high genetic diversity and species composition found throughout its tributaries.
Siriwut W, Jeratthitikul E, Panha S, Chanabun R, Ngor PB, Sutcharit C (2021) Evidence of cryptic diversity in freshwater Macrobrachium prawns from Indochinese riverine systems revealed by DNA barcode, species delimitation and phylogenetic approaches. PLoS ONE 16(6):e0252546. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0252546