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Title:Color Pattern Species: The hidden diversity of Collembola
Author(s):Katz, Aron
Subject(s):Entomology, Crop Sciences
Abstract:Though most people have never heard them, Collembola (a.k.a. springtails), are the second most abundant arthropods on the planet. These ubiquitous hexapods occupy most terrestrial habitats and serve an important role in detrital decomposition, food webs, and soil structure. Despite their ubiquity and vital function in ecosystems, relatively little is known about their ecology, distributions, and true species diversity. Recent molecular studied have revealed extremely high levels of genetic variation between populations of morphologically defined species, suggesting that global springtail diversity is much higher than previously considered due to cryptic species complexes. My MS thesis began as an exploration of spring tail diversity by utilizing color pattern and genetic variation as a means to delimit cryptic species boundaries. This image represents 23 different dorsal color patterns of only 12 species of the genus Entomobrya. By associating deeply divergent molecular lineages with unique color patterns, we found that different color forms of the same morphospecies actually represent different species. With modern molecular tools we are beginning to reveal the hidden diversity of these charismatic creatures. However, many questions remain. Why are cryptic species so prevalent within Collembola and other soil mesofauna? What evolutionary mechanisms are driving cryptic speciation in these groups?
Issue Date:2014-05
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Aron Katz
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-13

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