Recent introduction of the dominant tunicate, Pyura praeputialis (Urochordata, Pyuridae) to Antofagasta, Chile

Authors

  • J. C. Castilla,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Ecología & Biodiversidad, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Alameda 340, Casilla 114-D. Santiago, Chile,
      J. C. Castilla. E-mail: jcastill@genes.bio.puc.cl
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  • A. G. Collins,

    1. Ecology, Behaviour & Evolution Section, Division of Biology, University of California, La Jolla, USA,
    2. Department of Integrative Biology and Museum of Palaeontology, University of California, Berkeley, USA
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  • C. P. Meyer,

    1. Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA,
    2. Department of Integrative Biology and Museum of Palaeontology, University of California, Berkeley, USA
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  • R. Guiñez,

    1. Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Ecología & Biodiversidad, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Alameda 340, Casilla 114-D. Santiago, Chile,
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  • D. R. Lindberg

    1. Department of Integrative Biology and Museum of Palaeontology, University of California, Berkeley, USA
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J. C. Castilla. E-mail: jcastill@genes.bio.puc.cl

Abstract

The large sessile tunicate Pyura stolonifera (Pleurogona: Stolibranchiata: Pyuridae), has been regarded as a complex taxon with disjointed distributions, including Australia (Pyura stolonifera praeputialis), South Africa (Pyura stolonifera stolonifera) and South America (Chile, Antofagasta: Pyura sp., the ‘piure de Antofagasta’), and has been cited under at least five taxonomic combinations. The ‘piure de Antofagasta’ is a competitively dominant species in rocky intertidal habitats and shows a limited geographical range (60–70 km) exclusively inside the Bay of Antofagasta. Using cytochrome oxidase I (COI) mitochondrial sequence data from Pyura specimens of the three taxa we tested whether the Chilean taxon represents: (i) a Gondwana relict; (ii) a more recently divergent species; or (iii) a recently introduced species. The results suggest that the Chilean taxon is a recent introduction to Chile from Australian populations and that Pyura stolonifera praeputialis, from Australia, and the ‘piure de Antofagasta’ are geographical populations of a single species: Pyura praeputialis; whereas the South African taxon represents a second species: Pyura stolonifera.

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