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Integrated Use of Morphological and Molecular Analysis in the Taxonomic Study of Aegla schmitti: an endemic eglid taxon from Brazil suspected of constituting a species complex

Grant number: 22/14593-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2022
Effective date (End): September 30, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Fernando Luis Medina Mantelatto
Grantee:Gabriel Lucas Bochini
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:18/13685-5 - Integrative analysis of the Brazilian fauna of decapod crustaceans: taxonomy, phylogenetic systematics, spermiotaxonomy, morphology of post-embryonic development, ecology and conservation, AP.BTA.TEM


The genus Aegla is the only taxon among the Decapoda Anomura crustaceans found exclusively in continental waters of South America. They are extremely endangered organisms, as most species have a restricted distribution, with a high degree of endemism and inhabiting areas with a high degree of preservation. Thus, it is necessary to expand attention to species with wide distribution since previous studies have revealed a great genetic diversity and some cryptic species. In this sense, Aegla schmitti constitutes a promising model, requiring more precise integrative taxonomic analyzes to contextualize it phylogenetically, as well as its taxonomic status. Therefore, the objective of the project is to carry out a phylogeographic study to elucidate the evolutionary history of the populations of Aegla schmitti distributed in the basins of the Iraí River, the Alto Iguaçu, the Matinhos River Basin, and in the basins of the Ribeira de Iguape and Litorânea rivers. For this, a taxonomic review will be carried out with a multidisciplinary approach using morphological and morphometric techniques, both of specimens available in collections, including material from the typological series, as well as of new collections in areas of occurrence, in order to map the characters that can be informative. To evaluate the hypothesis about possible different entities, different techniques focused on external morphology (nanotomography and optical and scanning electron microscopy), on the ultrastructure of the male reproductive system (spermatozoa) in combination with molecular analyzes (genetic differences between populations and multigene phylogenetic reconstruction (16S and IOC) will be applied.

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