Untangling the Spurilla neapolitana (Delle Chiaje, 1841) species complex: a review of the genus Spurilla Bergh, 1864 (Mollusca: Nudibranchia: Aeolidiidae)

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Abstract

Spurilla neapolitana (Delle Chiaje, 1823) was considered to be a species with a broad geographic range and substantial colour variability; however, analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear gene data revealed that it is a complex of five distinct species. Further anatomical and morphological examinations determined that coloration is one of the main diagnostic traits for all five species, although some display substantial colour pattern variation. As a result of this study, S. neapolitana is determined to be restricted to the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic. Spurilla sargassicola Bergh, 1871 from the Caribbean is redescribed and confirmed as a valid species. The name Spurilla braziliana MacFarland, 1909 is retained for western Atlantic and Pacific populations. Two new species are described herein. Spurilla onubensis sp. nov. occurs in Europe, with a range overlapping that of S. neapolitana. Finally, Spurilla dupontae sp. nov. is found in the Bahamas. © 2014 The Linnean Society of London

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