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Parthenogenetic and sexual species within the Haploembia solieri species complex (Embioptera: Oligotomidae) found in California

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Webspinners in the genus Haploembia Verhoeff (Embioptera: Oligotomidae) were introduced into California from their native range in the Mediterranean region. In that region the genus has long been thought to comprise a single widespread species Haploembia solieri (Rambur) with both sexual and asexual populations and two additional sexual species with restricted ranges in the Mediterranean. For most of its known history in California, only asexual populations of Haploembia solieri were collected. However, within the last couple of decades, sexual populations have been discovered. The purpose of this project is to determine whether a single species of Haploembia solieri exists in California, which may imply reacquisition of sex, or whether these populations represent two or more species. To resolve this question DNA sequence data were acquired from multiple populations (sexual and asexual) of Californian, New Mexican, and Mediterranean Haploembia solieri, including both nuclear (histone 3) and mitochondrial (cytochrome oxidase I) genes. These data were included in a phylogenetic analysis to resolve relationships between these individuals. Our analysis shows asexual California specimens grouping with the asexual specimens from Sardinia; whereas the sexual California specimens group separately from both asexual specimens, and sexual Mediterranean specimens. Therefore, we conclude that there are two species of Haploembia introduced into California and at least three species involved in what was historically considered H. solieri.

Affiliations: 1: aDepartment of Entomology & Nematology, University of Florida, Natural Area Drive P.O. Box 110620, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA; 2: bDepartment of Biology, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA 95053, USA; 3: cDepartment of Biology and Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA


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