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Jin-Long Liu, Tatjana N. Dujsebayeva, Marina A. Chirikova, Xiong Gong, Da-Jiang Li, Xian-Guang Guo. Does the Dzungarian racerunner (Eremias dzungarica Orlova, Poyarkov, Chirikova, Nazarov, Munkhbaatar, Munkhbayar & Terbish, 2017) occur in China? Species delimitation and identification with DNA barcoding and morphometric analyses. Zoological Research. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2020.318
Citation: Jin-Long Liu, Tatjana N. Dujsebayeva, Marina A. Chirikova, Xiong Gong, Da-Jiang Li, Xian-Guang Guo. Does the Dzungarian racerunner (Eremias dzungarica Orlova, Poyarkov, Chirikova, Nazarov, Munkhbaatar, Munkhbayar & Terbish, 2017) occur in China? Species delimitation and identification with DNA barcoding and morphometric analyses. Zoological Research. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2020.318

Does the Dzungarian racerunner (Eremias dzungarica Orlova, Poyarkov, Chirikova, Nazarov, Munkhbaatar, Munkhbayar & Terbish, 2017) occur in China? Species delimitation and identification with DNA barcoding and morphometric analyses

doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2020.318
Funds:  This work was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA20050201) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (32070433 to X.G.G. and 32000288 to J.L.L.)
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  • Corresponding author: E-mail: guoxg@cib.ac.cn
  • Received Date: 2020-11-01
  • Accepted Date: 2021-03-24
  • Available Online: 2021-04-07
  • The Eremias multiocellata-przewalskii species complex is a viviparous group in the genus Eremias, and a well-known representative of taxonomically complicated taxa. Within this complex, a new species – E. dzungarica (Orlova et al., 2017) – has been described recently from western Mongolia and eastern Kazakhstan, with an apparent distribution gap in northwestern China. In this study, we used an integrative taxonomic framework to address whether E. dzungarica indeed occurs in China. Thirty specimens previously classified as E. multiocellata were collected in eastern Kazakhstan and the adjacent Altay region in China. The cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) barcodes were sequenced and compiled with those from Orlova et al. (2017) and analyzed with the standard and diverse barcoding techniques. We detected an absence of a barcoding gap in this complex, which indicates potential cryptic species in Eremias sp. 3 with high intraspecific diversity and multiple recently evolved species in Clade A. Both BIN and GMYC suggested an unrealistically large number of species (23 and 26, respectively), while ABGD, mPTP and BPP indicated a more conservative number of species (10, 12, and 15, respectively), largely concordant with the previously defined species-level lineages according to phylogenetic trees. Based on molecular phylogeny and morphological examination, all 30 individuals collected in this study were reliably identified as E. dzungarica – a distinct species – confirming the occurrence of this species in the Altay region, Xinjiang, China. Potentially owing to the larger sample size in this study, our morphological analyses revealed many inconsistencies with the original descriptions of E. dzungarica, which were primarily associated with sexual dimorphism and a broader range of values for various traits.
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