SNP data reveals the complex and diverse evolutionary history of the blue-ringed octopus genus (Octopodidae: Hapalochlaena) in the Asia-Pacific

Whitelaw, Brooke, Finn, Julian K., Zenger, Kyall R., Cooke, Ira R., Morse, Peter, and Strugnell, Jan M. (2023) SNP data reveals the complex and diverse evolutionary history of the blue-ringed octopus genus (Octopodidae: Hapalochlaena) in the Asia-Pacific. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 186. 107827.

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The blue-ringed octopus species complex (Hapalochlaena spp.), known to occur from Southern Australia to Japan, currently contains four formally described species (Hapalochlaena maculosa, Hapalochlaena fasciata, Hapalochlaena lunulata and Hapalochlaena nierstraszi). These species are distinguished based on morphological characters (iridescent blue rings and/or lines) along with reproductive strategies. However, the observation of greater morphological diversity than previously captured by the current taxonomic framework indicates that a revision is required. To examine species boundaries within the genus we used mitochondrial (12S rRNA, 16S rRNA, cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 [COI], cytochrome c oxidase subunit 3 [COIII] and cytochrome b [Cytb]) and genome-wide SNP data (DaRT seq) from specimens collected across its geographic range including variations in depth from 3 m to >100 m. This investigation indicates substantially greater species diversity present within the genus Hapalochlaena than is currently described. We identified 10,346 SNPs across all locations, which when analysed support a minimum of 11 distinct clades. Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of the mitochondrial COI gene on a more limited sample set dates the diversification of the genus to ∼30 mya and corroborates eight of the lineages indicated by the SNP analyses. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the diagnostic lined patterning of H. fasciata found in North Pacific waters and NSW, Australia is polyphyletic and therefore likely the result of convergent evolution. Several “deep water” (>100 m) lineages were also identified in this study with genetic convergence likely to be driven by external selective pressures. Examination of morphological traits, currently being undertaken in a parallel morphological study, is required to describe additional species within the complex.

Item ID: 79944
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-9513
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2023 01:15
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310401 Animal systematics and taxonomy @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310402 Biogeography and phylogeography @ 50%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 100%
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