- Taxonomic revision, molecular phylogeny and zoogeography of the huntsman spider genus Eusparassus (Araneae: Sparassidae) (2013)
- The spider genus Eusparassus Simon, 1903 (Araneae: Sparassidae: Eusparassinae; stone huntsman spider) is revised worldwide to include 30 valid species distributed exclusively in Africa and Eurasia. The type species E. dufouri Simon, 1932 is redescribed and a neotype is designated from Portugal. An extended diagnosis for the genus is presented. Eight new species are described: Eusparassus arabicus Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from Arabian Peninsula, E. educatus Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from Namibia, E. reverentia Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from Burkina Faso and Nigeria, E. jaegeri Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from South Africa and Botswana, E. jocquei Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from Zimbabwe, E. borakalalo Moradmand, 2013 (female) from South Africa, E. schoemanae Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from South Africa and Namibia and E. mesopotamicus Moradmand and Jäger, 2012 (male and female) from Iraq, Iran and Turkey. 22 species are re-described six of them are transferred from the genus Olios Walckenaer, 1837. Six species-groups are proposed: the dufouri-group [8 species: E. dufouri, E. levantinus Urones, 2006, E. barbarus (Lucas, 1846), E. atlanticus Simon, 1909, E. syrticus Simon, 1909, E. oraniensis (Lucas, 1846), E. letourneuxi (Simon, 1874), E. fritschi (Koch, 1873); Iberian Peninsula to parts of north-western Africa], walckenaeri-group [3 species: E. walckenaeri (Audouin, 1826), E. laevatus (Simon, 1897), E. arabicus; eastern Mediterranean to Arabia and parts of north-eastern Africa], doriae-group [7 species: E. doriae (Simon, 1874), E. kronebergi Denis, 1958, E. maynardi (Pocock, 1901), E. potanini (Simon, 1895), E. fuscimanus Denis, 1958, E. oculatus (Kroneberg, 1846) and E. mesopotamicus; Middle East to Central and South Asia], vestigator-group (3 species: E. vestigator (Simon, 1897), E. reverentia, E. pearsoni (Pocock, 1901); central to eastern Africa and an isolated area in NW India], jaegeri-group [4 species: E. jaegeri, E. jocquei, E. borakalalo, E. schoemanae; southern and south-eastern Africa], tuckeri-group [2 species: E. tuckeri (Lawrence, 1927), E. educatus; south-western Africa). Two species, E. pontii Caporiacco, 1935 and E. xerxes (Pocock, 1901) cannot be placed in any of the above groups. Two species are transferred from Eusparassus to Olios: O. flavovittatus (Caporiacco, 1935) and O. quesitio Moradmand, 2013. 14 species are recognized as misplaced in Eusparassus, thus nearly half of the described species prior to this revision were placed mistakenly in this genus. Neotypes are designated for E. walckenaeri from Egypt, E. barbarus, E. oraniensis and E. letourneuxi (all three from Algeria) to establish their identity. The male and female of Cercetius perezi Simon, 1902, which was known only from the immature holotype, are described for the first time. It is recognized that the monotypic and little used generic name Cercetius Simon, 1902 — a species, which had been known only from the immature holotype — as a synonym of the widely used name Eusparassus. The case proposal 3596 (conservation of name Eusparassus) is under consideration by ICZN. The first comprehensive molecular phylogeny of the family Sparassidae with focus on the genus Eusparassus is investigated using four molecular markers (mitochondrial COI and 16S; nuclear H3 and 28S). The monophyly of Eusparassus and the dufouri, walckenaeri and doriae species-groups are recovered with the latter two groups more closely related. The monophyly of the tuckeri-group is not supported and the position of E. jaegeri as the only available member of the jaegeri-group is not resolved within the Eusparassus clade. DNA samples of the vestigator-group were not accessible for this study. The origination of the genus Eusparassus around 70 million years ago (MA) is estimated according to molecular clock analyses. Using this recent result in combination with some biogeographic and geological data, the Namib Desert is proposed as the place of ancestral origin for Eusparassus and putative Eusparassinae genera. Further analyses are done on the phylogenetic relationships of Sparassidae and its subfamilies. The Eusparassinae are not confirmed as monophyletic, with the two original genera Eusparassus and Pseudomicrommata in separate clades and only the latter clusters with most other assumed Eusparassinae, here termed the "African clade". Monophyly of the subfamilies Sparianthinae, Heteropodinae sensu stricto, Palystinae and Deleninae is recovered. The Sparianthinae are supported as the most basal clade, diverging considerably early (143 MA) from all other Sparassidae. The Sparassinae and genus Olios are found to be polyphyletic. The Sparassidae are confirmed as monophyletic and as most basal group within the RTA-clade. The divergence time of Sparassidae from the RTA-clade is estimated with 186 MA in the Jurassic. No affiliation of Sparassidae to other members of the "Laterigradae" (Philodromidae, Selenopidae and Thomisidae) is observed, thus the crab-like posture of this group was proposed a result of convergent evolution. Only the families Philodromidae and Selenopidae are found members of a supported clade. Including a considerable amount of RTA-clade representatives, the higher-level clade Dionycha is not but monophyly of the RTA-clade itself is supported.
- Revision der Spinnenfamilie Psechridae (Arachnida: Araneae): Biodiversitätsforschung und Phylogenie mithilfe morphologischer und molekularer Methoden (2012)
- Die vorliegende, publikationsbasierte Dissertation, bestehend aus den drei Einzelpublikationen Bayer (2011, 2012) und Bayer und Schönhofer (2012), verfolgte das Ziel, die Spinnenfamilie Psechridae zu revidieren. Weiterhin sollten die phylogenetische Position dieser Familie im System der höheren Webspinnen (Araneomorphae) sowie die phylogenetischen Beziehungen der einzelnen Arten innerhalb der beiden Gattungen der Psechridae untersucht werden. In Form von morphologisch-taxonomischen Bearbeitungen wurden die beiden die Psechridae bildenden Gattungen Psechrus und Fecenia revidiert, wobei sämtliches Typus-Material sowie reichhaltiges, weiteres Material eingehend beschrieben, illustriert und diagnostiziert wurde. Hierbei wurden auch intraspezifische Variabilität sowie die Prä-Epigynen subadulter Weibchen, die in taxonomischen Arbeiten bislang nur eine unwesentliche Rolle gespielt haben, beschrieben, illustriert und taxonomisch ausgewertet. Zudem wurden im Rahmen dieser Untersuchungen bereits Überlegungen über mögliche Verwandtschaftsbeziehungen innerhalb der beiden Gattungen angestellt. ...
- European pea crabs - taxonomy, morphology, and host-ecology (Crustacea: Brachyura: Pinnotheridae) (2010)
- Pinnotherids are small crabs symbiotic to a variety of invertebrates. The European species infest bivalves and sea squirts. Their way of life is parasitic and poses a threat to commercially exploited bivalves. While juveniles of both sexes still look very similar - being agile swimmers and partially free living - a metamorphosis takes place in the female after mating and results in a conspicuous sexual dimorphism. Thereafter, the female settles in its host definitely and is morphologically strongly adapted to the parasitic life phase. A very high reproductive output was demonstrated among several pea crab species infesting bivalves. Despite from that, hardly any information is present in the literature on the pinnotherids’ reproductive biology and the underlying morphology. Due to their cryptic way of life, the sexual dimorphism, and the different morphotypes of the female, the taxonomy of the Pinnotheridae is a serious challenge. Two widely accepted species are recognized on European coasts: Pinnotheres pisum and Nepinnotheres pinnotheres. Pinnotheres pectunculi was so far only known from the bivalve Glycymeris glycymeris in its type locality Roscoff (France), while Pinnotheres ascidicola and Pinnotheres marioni were described as living exclusively in ascidians without careful comparison with the previously described species. In order to produce standardized comparative descriptions, pea crabs were collected and studied from different hosts and localities in the Northeast Atlantic and in the Mediterranean. Nepinnotheres pinnotheres and Pinnotheres pisum were redescribed with consideration to characters of female and male. According to our morphological analysis, Pinnotheres ascidicola and Pinnotheres marioni are junior synonyms of Nepinnotheres pinnotheres, whereas the status of Pinnotheres pectunculi as a valid species was ascertained. Important characters are the mouthparts, the male gonopods, and especially chelipeds that showed consistent characteristics among different crab stages of both sexes. Based on our sampling, we estimated the host-range of the European species. Nepinnotheres pinnotheres lives in ascidians and in the pen shell Pinna nobilis. Pinnotheres pisum infests numerous bivalve species - Pinna nobilis included. For Pinnotheres pectunculi novel host records are presented, all from the bivalve family Veneridae. Furthermore, feeding of the Pinnotheres-species was observed. They use a setae comb ventrally on the claw to brush mucus (and the accumulated food particles) from the bivalve gills. Feeding strategies and host-ecology will be thoroughly discussed in consideration to other Pinnotheridae. We investigated the reproductive systems of European pinnotherids by histological methods, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, and confocal laser scanning microscopy. The Eubrachyura have internal fertilization: paired vaginas enlarge into storage structures, the spermathecae, which are connected to the ovaries by oviducts. Sperm is stored until the oocytes are mature and transported into the spermathecae, where fertilization takes place. In the investigated pinnotherids, the vagina is of the ‘concave pattern’. Musculature is attached alongside flexible parts of the vagina-wall to control the dimension of its lumen. The genital opening is closed by a muscular mobile operculum. The spermatheca can be divided into two distinct regions by function and morphology. The ventral part includes the connection with vagina and oviduct and is regarded as the zone where fertilization takes place. It is lined with cuticle except where the oviduct enters the spermatheca by the ‘holocrine transfer tissue’. At ovulation, the oocytes have to pass through this multi-layered glandular epithelium, which has a holocrine mode secretion. The dorsal part of the spermatheca is lined by a highly secretory apocrine glandular epithelium, which was to date only found in fiddler crabs of the genus Uca. The male internal reproductive system consists of paired testes and corresponding vasa deferentia. The sperm morphology of pinnotherids conforms to other thoracotremes, with slight differences between Nepinnotheres pinnotheres and Pinnotheres pisum. Spermatozoa become enveloped into spermatophores in the secretory proximal vas deferens. The medial vas deferens is strongly enlarged and stores spermatophores embedded in seminal plasma. The distal vas deferens holds tubular appendices, which extend into the ventral cephalothorax and slightly into the pleon. These appendices produce and store vast quantities of seminal plasma. The copulatory system of the Brachyura is formed by paired penes and two pairs of gonopods, which function in sperm transfer. In pinnotherids, the long first gonopods transfers the sperm mass to the female. It holds the ejaculatory canal inside, which opens proximally and distally. The second gonopod is solid, short and conical. During copulation, the penis and the second gonopod are inserted into the base of the tubular first gonopod. The second gonopod functions in the transport of the sperm mass inside the ejaculatory canal towards its distal opening. The specific shape of the second gonopod is strongly adapted for a sealing of the tubular first gonopod with longitudinal cuticle foldings that interlock inside the first gonopod. The presented results are discussed concerning their function in reproduction and in respect of the systematic account. The role of secretion in sperm transfer, storage and fertilization among the Brachyura is still under debate. It is notable that structure and function of secretion are more complex in pinnotherids and probably more efficient than in other brachyuran crabs, which will be discussed, in view of the parasitic way of life and the high fecundity of pinnotherids.
- Systematics, taxonomy, phylogeny and zoogeography of the Capoeta damascina species complex (Pisces: Teleostei: Cyprinidae) inferred from comparative morphology and molecular markers (2011)
- Capoeta damascina (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) is one of the most common freshwater fish species, found throughout the Levant, Mesopotamia, Turkey and Iran. According to the state of knowledge prior to this study, C. damascina, which is distributed over a wide range of isolated water bodies, was not a well-defined species. It was questionable whether it represents a single species or a complex of closely related species with high intraspecific and comparatively low interspecific variability. The goal of this study was to investigate the taxonomy, systematic position of the C. damascina species complex and the phylogenetic relationships among its members, based on morphological features as well as molecular phylogeny. Samples obtained from throughout the geographic range of this species complex were subjected to comparative morphological analyses in order to define, properly diagnose and separate species within the C. damascina complex. To elucidate phylogenetic relationships among members of the C. damascina species complex, samples were subjected to genetic analyses, using two molecular markers targeting the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI, n = 103) and the two adjacent divergence regions (D1-D2) of the nuclear 28S rRNA genes (LSU, n = 65). Based on morphological and molecular genetic data, six closely related species were recognized within the C. damascina complex: C. buhsei, C. caelestis, C. damascina, C. saadii, C. umbla and an undescribed species, Capoeta sp.1. Analyses of the morphometric and meristic data obtained in this study revealed phenotypic variability among the various populations within a species and among the different species. Such differences in morphological characters reflect genetic differences, environmentally induced phenotypic variation or both, as the meristic phenotype of fish is sometimes a consequence of environmental parameters acting on the genotype. Based on phylogenetic analyses, two main lineages were identified within the C. damascina species complex: a western lineage represented by C. caelestis, C. damascina and C. umbla and an eastern lineage represented by C. buhsei, C. saadii and Capoeta sp.1. The close phylogenetic relationships between C. damascina and C. umbla and the sharing of same haplotypes between one specimen of C. damascina from Euphrates and another of C. umbla from Tigris reflect one of three possibilites: recent speciation, mitochondrial introgression or a combination of both. The results obtained in this study indicate that speciation of the above-mentioned six taxa is quite recent and that their dispersal and present-day distribution can be related to Pleistocene events. The drying out of the Persian Gulf, probably during one of the first glacials of the Pleistocene, led the ancestor of the C. damascina species complex in Mesopotamia to reach the rivers of the Gulf and of Hormuz basins and differentiate there, giving rise to the eastern lineage (ancestor of C. buhsei, C. saadii and Capoeta sp.1). As connections presumably existed among the different river drainages and basins in Iran during the wet periods of the Pleistocene, the ancestor of C. buhsei, C. saadii and Capoeta sp.1 was subsequently able to colonize the various Iranian drainages and differentiate there, giving rise to C. buhsei, C. saadii and Capoeta sp.1. After the separation from the eastern lineage, the western lineage, represented by the ancestor of C. damascina, C. umbla and C. caelestis, most likely reached the Levant from the Tigris-Euphrates system during the Pleistocene glacials, when river connections existed in the regions of the upper courses of Ceyhan Nehri (southern Turkey) and some western affluents to the Euphrates. From Ceyhan Nehri, it dispersed into other rivers in southern Turkey during Pleistocene periods of low sea levels until it reached Göksu Nehri and evolved into C. caelestis. The sister population differentiated into C. damascina and C. umbla. Based on the results obtained in this study, it is likely that C. damascina colonized the Levant and southern Turkey during the Pleistocene glacials. This is well supported by the low genetic variability among the C. damascina populations. Direct connections existed among the river drainages in the Levant during the Pleistocene periods of low sea level, thus serving as a pathway for the dispersal of C. damascina. The results of this study provide a coherent picture of the taxonomic position, phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary history of the C. damascina species complex and explain present patterns of distribution considering paleogeographic events.