Integrating Morphology, Breeding Ground and Mitochondrial COI Gene Analysis for Species Identification of Bellamya lithophaga (Gastropoda: Viviparidae) in China.
AbstractBackground: Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a zoonotic public health concern that causes human severe eosinophilic meningitis in Southeast Asia and China. As a medically important intermediate host of A. cantonensis, Bellamya lithophaga (Gastrop-oda: Viviparidae) is often confused with other morphologically similar sibling spe-cies of genus Bellamya, such as B. aeruginosa and B. purificata in the past. Hence, the aim of the present study was to investigate evidences to discriminate these equivo-cal Bellamya species.Methods: This study was carried out by getting Bellamya snail samples from Fujian Province in the South-East of China. The snail morphological features，breeding grounds and phylogenetic relationship according to mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene marker were analyzed.Results: Based on external morphology, radular shape and cusp formula, as well as major breeding environment, B. lithophaga could be distinguished from B. aeruginosa, B. purificata. The phylogenetic tree also unconfirmed that B. lithophaga belongs to a different genetic clade from other morphologically similar species.Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate the significant differences in B. lithophaga and other sibling species, which supports the traditional species delimitation in the genus Bellamya.
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