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Scientific Reports




In an age of species declines, delineating and discovering biodiversity is critical for both taxonomic accuracy and conservation. In recent years, there has been a movement away from using exclusively morphological characters to delineate and describe taxa and an increase in the use of molecular markers to describe diversity or through integrative taxonomy, which employs traditional morphological characters, as well as genetic or other data. Tiger beetles are charismatic, of conservation concern, and much work has been done on the morphological delineation of species and subspecies, but few of these taxa have been tested with genetic analyses. In this study, we tested morphologically based taxonomic hypotheses of polymorphic tiger beetles in the Eunota circumpicta (LaFerté-Sénectère, 1841) species complex using multilocus genomic and mtDNA analyses. We find multiple cryptic species within the previous taxonomic concept of Eunota circumpicta, some of which were historically recognized as subspecies. We found that the mtDNA and genomic datasets did not identify the same taxonomic units and that the mtDNA was most at odds with all other genetic and morphological patterns. Overall, we describe new cryptic diversity, which raises important conservation concerns, and provide a working example for testing species and subspecies validity despite discordant data.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.