Indexed on: 13 Jun '16Published on: 12 Jun '16Published in: Zoologica Scripta
Although copepods of the genus Cyclops are among the most common and dominant plankton taxa of lakes in the northern temperate zone, their taxonomy is still unclear. We analysed an extensive array of Cyclops populations from Europe by means of molecular methods and evaluated morphological characters. Altogether, 68 populations of Cyclops species were sampled, assigned to morphospecies and sequenced for the 12S rRNA gene. Selected populations of each morphospecies were additionally sequenced for three mitochondrial (16S rRNA, cytochrome b, COI) and two nuclear genes (18S rRNA, ITS1) and analysed for micromorphological traits. Our analysis revealed fifteen lineages that can be regarded as separate species. Thirteen of these match currently accepted species, while the remaining two lineages were distinct from the other described species. Thus, their taxonomic status is open to further studies. Besides taxonomy, our study gives new insights into the ecology, distribution and phylogenetic relationships of these species. Finally, a set of morphological traits was selected to facilitate identification.