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DNA barcoding of crickets, katydids and grasshoppers (Orthoptera) from Central Europe with focus on Austria, Germany and Switzerland

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Abstract

We present a DNA barcoding study on the insect order Orthoptera that was generated in collaboration between four barcoding projects in three countries, viz. Barcoding Fauna Bavarica (Germany), German Barcode of Life, Austrian Barcode of Life and Swiss Barcode of Life. Our data set includes 748 COI sequences from 127 of the 162 taxa (78.4%) recorded in the three countries involved. Ninety-three of these 122 species (76.2%, including all Ensifera) can be reliably identified using DNA barcodes. The remaining 26 caeliferan species (families Acrididae and Tetrigidae) form ten clusters that share barcodes among up to five species, in three cases even across different genera, and in six cases even sharing individual barcodes. We discuss incomplete lineage sorting and hybridization as most likely causes of this phenomenon, as the species concerned are phylogenetically young and hybridization has been previously observed. We also highlight the problem of nuclear mitochondrial pseudogenes (numts), a known problem in the barcoding of orthopteran species, and the possibility of Wolbachia infections. Finally, we discuss the possible taxonomic implications of our barcoding results and point out future research directions.

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