Cryptic diversity in Engaeus Erichson, Geocharax Clark and Gramastacus Riek (Decapoda:Parastacidae) revealed by mitochondrial 16S rDNA sequences
Computing, Health and Science
Nucleotide sequence data from the mitochondrial 16S rDNA region were utilised to investigate phylogenetic relationships and species boundaries among Australian freshwater crayfish belonging to the genera Engaeus Erichson, 1846, Geocharax Clark, 1936 and Gramastacus Riek, 1972. Geocharax and Gramastacus were found to be monophyletic genera but one species currently assigned to Engaeus may belong to another genus. Relationships between the three existing genera were not resolved. Analysis of species boundaries within Geocharax suggests that there are an additional two species in this genus, and our analysis of Gramastacus indicates that undescribed populations from central New South Wales may comprise a second species. The data provide at least one instance of a taxon crossing the Great Dividing Range and provide confirmation of previously proposed hypotheses seeking to explain trans-Bass Strait distributions of species.