Luttikhuizen, Pieternella C.; Bol, Anneke; Cardoso, Joana F.M.F.; Dekker, Rob. 2011. Overlapping distributions of cryptic Scoloplos cf. armiger species in the western Wadden Sea. Journal of Sea Research 66(3): 231-237.
World Polychaeta Database (WPolyD)
Unknowingly lumping cryptic species in biological monitoring studies hinders progress in understanding their functioning in a wide range of research fields including population dynamics, ecophysiology and community ecology. The common polychaete worm Scoloplos cf. armiger is a cryptic species complex comprising entirely different developmental modes: holobenthic and pelago-benthic development. In the northeast Atlantic, three putative species have been described on the basis of molecular data and a breeding study. We report on the development of a fast genotyping assay and on the occurrence and distribution of different molecular types in the western Wadden Sea. The genotyping assay consists of PCR-RFLP analysis by two enzymes of a mitochondria (cox3-tmQ-nad6) DNA segment. A new, fourth type was observed and this was the only type whose geographical distribution was not uniform but instead skewed toward the eastern part of the study area. All three hitherto known types were also observed and these three displayed a significant difference in depth distribution within the study area. This is the first ecological difference reported for the 'Subtidal Clade' (SC) versus the 'Type Locality Clade' (TLC). The new type ('Intertidal Clade 2') had a similar distribution to what is known as the Intertidal Cade (IC). However, the most striking observation is the large degree of overlap between the depth distributions in the western Wadden Sea, where the clade names 'Intertidal' and 'Subtidal do not necessarily reflect local species composition. The necessity to genotype Scoloplos cf. armiger in monitoring programs is emphasized.