When barcoding fails : development of diagnostic nuclear markers for the sibling caddisfly species Sericostoma personatum (Spence in Kirby & Spence, 1826) and Sericostoma flavicorne Schneider, 1845

The larval stages of the central European sibling caddisfly species Sericostoma personatum (Spence in Kirby and Spence, 1826) and S. flavicorne Schneider, 1845 are morphologically similar and can only be distinguished by differences in coloration in late larval instars. Identification using the mitochondrial barcoding gene, i.e., the Cytochrome c Oxidase 1, is impossible, as both species share the same highly differentiated haplotypes due to introgression. Nuclear gene markers obtained through double digest restriction site associate sequencing (ddRAD seq), however, can reliably distinguish both species, yet the method is expensive as well as time-consuming and therefore not practicable for species determination. To facilitate accurate species identification without sequencing genome-wide markers, we developed nine diagnostic nuclear RFLP markers based on ddRAD seq data. The markers were successfully tested on geographically distinct populations of the two Sericostoma species in western Germany, on known hybrids, and on another sericostomatid caddisfly species, Oecismus monedula (Hagen, 1859) that sometimes shares the habitat and can be morphologically confounded with Sericostoma. We describe a simple and fast protocol for reliable species identification of S. personatum and S. flavicorne independent of the life cycle stage of the specimens.


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