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Applications of ddRAD sequencing in taxonomy and systematics of wolf spiders (Lycosidae)

Vladislav Ivanov (1), Yuri Marusik (2, 3), Kyung Min Lee (1) & Marko Mutanen (1)

(1) Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland

(2) Institute for Biological Problems of the North, RAS, Magadan, Russia

(3) Department of Zoology & Entomology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


Molecular methods in taxonomy and systematics are becoming a routine rather than novel approach. The logic of molecular methods application is uniform which makes them an extremely efficient tool for studying all kinds of basic and applied biological questions including taxonomy and systematics. Here we discuss double-digest restriction site associated DNA sequencing (ddRADseq) and its applications for wolf spiders’ taxonomy and systematics, genus Pardosa in particular. The ddRADseq belongs to reduced representation genome sequencing methods meaning that it samples thousands of loci from the whole genome (roughly up to 2% of it). One of our target group is Pardosa pullata-group. We started with sequencing DNA barcodes (COI) and found that they are in conflict with established taxonomy of these wolf spiders, i.e. COI could not discriminate morphological species. Thus, we proceeded with ddRADseq and consecutive analysis of the genome scale data showed that the target species represent separate lineages and that current species hypothesis proposed by Kronestedt holds true. Simultaneously, we sequenced quite many other Pardosa species as well as some representatives of different subfamilies of Lycosidae. Concerning Pardosa there are two interesting findings. First, we analyzed P. atrata and P. palustris specimens from Finland and Northeast Siberia and ddRADseq data suggests that these distant populations might represent different species. Further morphological scrutiny showed differences in copulatory organs in P. atrata from Finland and Eastern Siberia. Pardosa palustris was not studied in detail yet but we believe that the situation is quite similar. Second, ddRADseq shows that different Pardosa species groups actually represent independent evolutionary lineages which was suggested earlier based on morphology. Moreover, Acantholycosa is always clustered “within” Pardosa (both based on ddRADseq and COI) with the closest neighbor being P. eiseni from P. nigra group. The latter suggests whether all up-to-date studied species groups represent separate genera or that Acantholycosa could be synonymized with Pardosa. It is clear though that ddRADseq can be a very efficient tool to study such kind of questions.

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Vladislav Ivanov, Yuri Marusik, Kyung Min Lee & Marko Mutanen