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Animal Biodiversity and Conservation. Volume 45.1 (2022) Pages: 43-52

New records of leeches of the genus Limnatis (Hirudinea, Praobdellidae) from the South Caucasus and Central Asia: phylogenetic relationships of Eurasian and African populations

Utevsky, S., Mabrouki, Y., Taybi, A. F., Huseynov, M., Manafov, A., Morhun, H., Shashina, O., Utevsky, G., Khomenko, A., Utevsky, A.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2022.45.0043

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Abstract

Leeches of the genus Limnatis Moquin–Tandon, 1827 infest mucous membranes of various mammals, including humans and domestic ungulates. The type species of the genus L. nilotica (Savigny, 1822) was initially thought to occur throughout the Western Palaearctic, from North Africa to the Middle East and Central Asia. It was later found that L. paluda (Tennent, 1859) is a widespread Western Asian species. However, the South Caucasus and vast areas of Central Asia have not been explored sufficiently in terms of leeches of the genus Limnatis. We recorded L. paluda from Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan for the first time. We also carried out the first molecular characterisation of L. nilotica herein. We found a deep genetic differentiation (8 %) between the Western Asian L. paluda and North African (Moroccan) L. nilotica based on their COI sequences. This finding corroborates a previous morphology–based hypothesis on their separate species assignments. The low genetic diversity of L. paluda is explained by the recent colonisation of arid landscapes of Western Asia.

Keywords

Annelida, Limnatis paluda, Limnatis nilotica, COI, Genetic diversity

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Utevsky, S., Mabrouki, Y., Taybi, A. F., Huseynov, M., Manafov, A., Morhun, H., Shashina, O., Utevsky, G., Khomenko, A., Utevsky, A., 2022. New records of leeches of the genus Limnatis (Hirudinea, Praobdellidae) from the South Caucasus and Central Asia: phylogenetic relationships of Eurasian and African populations. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 45: 43-52, DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2022.45.0043

Reception date:

02/07/2021

Acceptation date:

25/11/2021

Publication date:

21/12/2021

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