Fiddler Crab Information Web Taiwanese Naturalist

Hydrobiologia 635: 373-382 (2009)

Genetic evidence for the recognition of two fiddler crabs, Uca iranica and U. albimana (Crustacea: Brachyura: Ocypodidae), from the northwestern Indian Ocean, with notes on the U. lactea species-complex


Hsi-Te Shih, Ehsan Kamrani, Peter J. F. Davie, Min-Yun Liu

The status of two poorly known fiddler crabs, Uca iranica Pretzmann, 1971, from the Persian Gulf, and U. albimana (Kossmann, 1877), from the Red Sea, was studied using two mitochondrial genes: the large subunit (16S) ribosomal (r)RNA and cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI). A molecular phylogeny shows both U. iranica and U. albimana to be members of a monophyletic U. lactea species-complex containing six taxa, with three highly supported internal clades. Uca iranica and U. albimana are the closest genetically, but are different enough to be considered valid species (16S rRNA nucleotide divergence > 7.0%, and COI > 11.9%), and form a highly supported western clade with U. annulipes (in line with the original morphological concept). A West Pacific eastern clade includes U. lactea in the north and the more widely ranging U. perplexa. An Australian endemic species, U. mjoebergi, forms a third monotypic clade.

Key words: 16S rRNA, Cytochrome oxidase I, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Biogeography.

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