The genus Schizopera (Copepoda, Harpacticoida) in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, with description of a new species and its molecular and morphological affinities

WA Museum Records and Supplements | Updated 8 months ago

ABSTRACT – The predominantly marine genus Schizopera Sars, 1905 has only two significant inland water species flocks, one in the ancient African Lake Tanganyika and the other in subterranean waters of Western Australia. Despite a great potential for studies of freshwater invasions, very little research has been done on these copepods, especially in the Pilbara region. We describe here S. cooperi sp. nov. from a bore hole about 45 km NW of Paraburdoo, which sheds new light on the previous sparse records of this genus in the region. Morphological characters suggest a close relationship between the new species and S. weelumurra Karanovic, 2006, a species described on the basis of a single female from a locality that lies some 100 km NE, with only minor differences in the proportion of some setae and spines. Phylogenetic analyses of the mtCOI partial sequences suggest that the new species has no close relatives among Western Australian congeners, molecular data for the presumably closely related S. weelumurra are missing. Molecular data suggest a closer relationship between S. cooperi and three congeners from the Yilgarn region than between it and another (as yet unidentified) congener from the Pilbara, suggesting multiple colonisation events in both regions. An overview of the genus in the Pilbara highlights the need for more extensive sampling and for the use of molecular data to resolve issues of disjunct distribution patterns and delineation of morphologically similar species.

Author(s) T. Karanovic and J. McRae
Records 28 : Part 2
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