Previous morphological studies within the claybank group of tiger beetles concluded that C. limbalis, C. splendida, and C. denverensis were separate species, but results from a limited mitochondrial DNA analysis suggested they may represent a single species. Here we review relevant literature on the relationships between C. limbalis and C. splendida and present results of mtDNA analysis of several populations of these taxa, including a Virginia population with specimens morphologically matching both species. Mitochondrial haplotypes for cob and coxl revealed that C. limbalis and C. splendida from several populations were closely related and could not be diagnosed under the criterion of exclusivity. Phylogenetic analyses were conducted under parsimony criteria and Bayseian inference, and in all reconstructions, C. limbalis and C. splendida (and a reference sample of C. denverensis) were united into a large polytomy. Nested clade analysis revealed no patterns of geographic distribution significantly different from panmixia. The lack of geographic structure across the sampled range recovered no support for earlier phylogeographic hypothesis that C. splendida and C. limbalis separated in the foothills of the Appalachians during the Pleistocene. It is hoped that these findings will provide impetus for a thorough systematic analyses of the claybank group of tiger beetles.
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