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1 March 2014 Molecular and Morphological Discrimination Between an Invasive Ascidian, Ascidiella aspersa, and Its Congener A. scabra (Urochordata: Ascidiacea)
Teruaki Nishikawa, Ichiro Oohara, Kenji Saitoh, Yuya Shigenobu, Natsuki Hasegawa, Makoto Kanamori, Katsuhisa Baba, Xavier Turon, John D. D. Bishop
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Abstract

The solitary ascidian Ascidiella aspersa (Müller, 1776) has sometimes been regarded as conspecific with A. scabra (Müller, 1776), although previous detailed morphological comparisons have indicated that the two are distinguishable by internal structures. Resolution of this taxonomic issue is important because A. aspersa has been known as a notoriously invasive ascidian, doing much damage to aquaculture e.g. in Hokkaido, Japan. We collected many specimens from European waters (including the Swedish coast, near the type localities of these two species) and Hokkaido, Japan (as an alien population) and made molecular phylogenetic analyses using the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene, and found that in terms of COI sequences all the analyzed specimens were clustered into two distinct groups, one of which is morphologically referable to A. aspersa and the other to A. scabra. Thus, these two species should be regarded as distinct from each other.

© 2014 Zoological Society of Japan
Teruaki Nishikawa, Ichiro Oohara, Kenji Saitoh, Yuya Shigenobu, Natsuki Hasegawa, Makoto Kanamori, Katsuhisa Baba, Xavier Turon, and John D. D. Bishop "Molecular and Morphological Discrimination Between an Invasive Ascidian, Ascidiella aspersa, and Its Congener A. scabra (Urochordata: Ascidiacea)," Zoological Science 31(3), 180-185, (1 March 2014). https://doi.org/10.2108/zsj.31.180
Received: 12 August 2013; Accepted: 5 November 2013; Published: 1 March 2014
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