Contributions to Zoology, 85 (4) – 2016Deborah Wall-Palmer; Alice K. Burridge; Katja T.C.A. Peijnenburg; Arie Janssen; Erica Goetze; Richard Kirby; Malcolm B. Hart; Christopher W. Smart: Evidence for the validity of Protatlanta sculpta (Gastropoda: Pterotracheoidea)

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Abstract

The genus Protatlanta is thought to be monotypic and is part of the Atlantidae, a family of shelled heteropods. These microscopic planktonic gastropods are poorly known, although research on their ecology is now increasing in response to concerns about the effects of ocean acidification on calcareous plankton. A correctly implemented taxonomy of the Atlantidae is fundamental to this progressing field of research and it requires much attention, particularly using integrated molecular and morphological techniques. Here we use DNA barcoding, shell morphology and biogeography to show that the genus Protatlanta includes at least two valid species in the Atlantic Ocean. Protatlanta souleyeti and Protatlanta sculpta were found to be separate species, with different shell morphology and separated by a K2P genetic distance of 19% sequence divergence at the Cytochrome Oxidase 1 gene. This evidence supports the revival of the species name P. sculpta, which was described by Issel in 1911, but has not been recognised as a valid species since 1915.