Molecular Biology: Open Access

ISSN: 2168-9547

Open Access

Molecular Phylogeny of Pheretimoid Earthworms (Haplotaxina: Megascolecidae) Based on Mitochondrial DNA in Hainan Island, China


Qi Zhao, Daniel Cluzeau, Jibao Jiang,Eric J Petit, Charlène Briard, Jing Sun, Andreas Prinzing, Jiangping Qiu

In the Chinese Hainan Island, Amynthas and Metaphire are two dominated pheretimoid earthworm species belonging to the family Megascolecidae. They differ from earthworms in the adjacent regions in their morphology and at the molecular level, which could have occurred due to the unique geography of Hainan Island. Hainan Island is made of two tectonic parts linked to South China and Indochina blocks, respectively. In addition, there is an apparent complicated link between Hainan Island and mainland China because of the different plate movements and sea level changes. In order to understand the evolution of pheretimoid earthworms in Hainan Island, we first investigated the earthworm biodiversity here. Bayesian phylogenetic tree was then constructed from 3511 base pairs from five mitochondrial genes: COI, COII, 16S, 12S, and ND1. Their divergent time was finally traced based on the molecular clock of 2.0-2.4% substitutions/Ma. The results showed three species differentiations between Hainan and Guangdong earthworm species. According to the paleogeography of Asiatic regions (including Hainan Island itself), we hypothesized that the Hainan pheretimoid earthworms might originate from Southeast Asia, and then they dispersed to the south and finally arrived at South China and Hainan Island. Meanwhile, due to the geology movement of the adjacent plates, there was also the migration of earthworms among adjacent regions. Furthermore, we also considered that the relationship between genera Metaphire and Amynthas might be re-considered as one genus.


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