Revisiting species delimitation within the genus Oxystele using DNA barcoding approach

Herman Van Der Bank, Dai Herbert, Richard Greenfield, Kowiyou Yessoufou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The genus Oxystele, a member of the highly diverse marine gastropod superfamily Trochoidea, is endemic to southern Africa. Members of the genus include some of the most abundant molluscs on southern African shores and are important components of littoral biodiversity in rocky intertidal habitats. Species delimitation within the genus is still controversial, especially regarding the complex O. impervia / O. variegata. Here, we assessed species boundaries within the genus using DNA barcoding and phylogenetic tree reconstruction. We analysed 56 specimens using the mitochondrial gene COI. Our analysis delimits five molecular operational taxonomic units (MOTUs), and distinguishes O. impervia from O. variegata. However, we reveal important discrepancies between MOTUs and morphology-based species identification and discuss alternative hypotheses that can account for this. Finally, we indicate the need for future study that includes additional genes, and the combination of both morphology and genetic techniques (e.g. AFLP or microsatellites) to get deeper insight into species delimitation within the genus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-354
Number of pages18
Issue numberSPEC.ISSUE
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Gastropoda
  • Mollusca
  • Morphology
  • Species delimitation
  • Trochidae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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