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Not all that glitters is gold: barcoding effort reveals taxonomic incongruences in iconic Ross Sea sea stars
Guzzi, A.; Alvaro, M.C.; Danis, B.; Moreau, C.; Schiaparelli, S. (2022). Not all that glitters is gold: barcoding effort reveals taxonomic incongruences in iconic Ross Sea sea stars. Diversity 14(6): 457. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390/d14060457
In: Diversity. MDPI: Basel. ISSN 1424-2818; e-ISSN 1424-2818
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Asteroidea [WoRMS]; Odontaster Verrill, 1880 [WoRMS]
    Marine/Coastal
Author keywords
    Southern Ocean; COI; morphology; Odontaster; Asteroidea

Authors  Top 
  • Guzzi, A.
  • Alvaro, M.C.
  • Danis, B., more
  • Moreau, C.
  • Schiaparelli, S.

Abstract
    The Southern Ocean is one of the most exposed regions to climate-related changes on our planet. Better understanding of the current biodiversity and past speciation events, as well as implementation of conservation actions and accurate identification of organisms to species level in this unique environment, is fundamental. In this study, two species of sea stars, Odontaster roseus Janosik & Halanych, 2010 and Odontaster pearsei Janosik & Halanych, 2010, are reported for the first time from the Terra Nova Bay area (TNB, Ross Sea, Antarctica) by using a combination of molecular (DNA barcoding) and morphological (coloration and skeletal features) analyses. Molecular results agree with external morphological characters of the two identified species, making occurrence in the area unequivocal. The two species were recently described from the Antarctic Peninsula, and went unnoticed for a long time in TNB, possibly having been confused with O. meridionalis (E.A. Smith, 1876), with which they share a bright yellow coloration. This latter species seems to be absent in the Ross Sea. Thus, the past literature referring to O. meridionalis in the Ross Sea should be treated with caution as these “yellow morphs” could be one of the two recently described species or even orange–yellow morphs of the red-colored congeneric O. validus Koehler, 1906. This work highlights the paucity of knowledge even in purportedly well-studied areas and in iconic Antarctic organisms.

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