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Latitudinal distribution and mitochondrial DNA (COI) variability of Stereotydeus spp. (Acari: Prostigmata) in Victoria Land and the central Transantarctic Mountains

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2010

Nicholas J. Demetras*
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand
Ian D. Hogg
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand
Jonathan C. Banks
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand
Byron J. Adams
Microbiology & Molecular Biology Department, Evolutionary Ecology Laboratories, Brigham Young University, 775 WIDB, Provo, UT 84602-5253, USA


We examined mitochondrial DNA (COI) variability and distribution of Stereotydeus spp. in Victoria Land and the Transantarctic Mountains, and constructed Neighbour Joining (NJ) and Maximum Likelihood (ML) phylogenetic trees using all publicly available COI sequences for the three Stereotydeus species present (S. belli, S. mollis and S. shoupi). We also included new COI sequences from Miers, Marshall and Garwood valleys in southern Victoria Land (78°S), as well as from the Darwin (79°S) and Beardmore Glacier (83°S) regions. Both NJ and ML methods produced trees which were similar in topology differing only in the placement of the single available S. belli sequence from Cape Hallett (72°S) and a S. mollis haplotype from Miers Valley. Pairwise sequence divergences among species ranged from 9.5–18.1%. NJ and ML grouped S. shoupi from the Beardmore Glacier region as sister to those from the Darwin with pairwise divergences of 8%. These individuals formed a monophyletic clade with high bootstrap support basal to S. mollis and S. belli. Based on these new data, we suggest that the distributional range of S. shoupi extends northward to Darwin Glacier and that a barrier to dispersal for Stereotydeus, and possibly other arthropods, exists immediately to the north of this area.

Research Article
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2010

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