Three new species of Bathysciola Jeannel, 1910 (Leiodidae, Cholevinae, Leptodirini) from caves in Central Italy, comparing morphological taxonomy with molecular phylogeny

in Insect Systematics & Evolution
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The genus Bathysciola is widely distributed in the northern Mediterranean region, although its range extends east to the Caucasus and Iran. More than 130 species belonging to this genus are actually known in the whole geographic distribution area and 45 species are distributed in continental and insular Italy. The species belonging to the Bathysciola sisernica Cerruti and Patrizi, 1952 species group occur in the Central-Southern Italian Apennines and Pre-Apennines. This group consists of seven species, four of which (B. sisernica, B. delayi Latella and Rampini, 1994, B. rampinii Latella, 2002, B. sbordoni Rampini and Latella, 1993) were already known to science and three are described herein, Bathysciola fabiolae sp. nov., Bathysciola octaviani sp. nov. , and Bathysciola valeriae sp. nov., markedly increasing the knowledge on the distribution of this genus in Central Italy. A morphological analysis was carried out based on diagnostic characters usually used to distinguish different taxa, and including both genitalia and external traits. Based on morphological characters, we reconstructed the phylogeny of this group of species, comparing them with the species belonging to other phyletic lineages, such as B. derosasi Jeannel, 1914, B. georgi Cerruti, Patrizi, 1952, B. vignai Sbordoni and Rampini, 1978, and B. sarteanensis sarteanensis (Bargagli, 1870). Results suggested that morphological traits show a clear taxonomic signal but a poor phylogenetic signal. To better understand the relationships within this group of species, we performed a molecular analysis by sequencing three mitochondrial genes, 12S rRNA, 16S rRNA, partially sequenced and the entire gene of COI. Molecular markers were used to infer phylogenetic relationships among the Bathysciola sisernica species group and to reconstruct the historical processes that shaped their current geographic distribution. Results showed that these species became isolated in very ancient times, showing very high genetic differentiation.

Insect Systematics & Evolution

An International Journal of Systematic Entomology



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  • Distribution map of the Bathysciola sisernica species group.

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  • a, Bathysciola sarteanensis, male; b, Ovobathysciola majori, male; c, Bathysciola sbordonii, male, right foreleg; d, Bathysciola octaviani, male, right forale; e, Bathysciola delayi, male, suture between the mesoventrite and the anteromedian process of the metaventrite; f, Ovobathysciola majori, male, suture between the mesoventrite and the anteromedian process of the metaventrite. Scale bars 0.25 mm.

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  • a, Bathysciola derosasi, aedeagus in dorsal view; b, Bathysciola fabiolae, internal sac of the aedeagus in dorsal view; c, Bathysciola vignai, aedeagus in dorsal view; d, Bathysciola sarteanensis, apex of the aedeagus and parameres; e, Bathysciola sbordonii, apex of the aedeagus and parameres. Scale bars: a, b, c, e, 0.25 mm; d, 0.1 mm.

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  • a, Bathysciola sbordonii, spermatheca; b, Bathysciola fabiolae, spermatheca; c, Bathysciola derosasi, spermatheca; d, Bathysciola valeriae, spermatheca. Scale bar 0.2 mm.

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  • Distribution of genetic distance values (p-distances) in the species of Bathysciola considered in this study.

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  • Relationships among species of Bathysciola inferred by Bayesian analysis and using molecular characters. Values above the branches indicate support values: 1) posterior probabilities (PP), and bootstrap values for ML (2) and MP (3) analyses, respectively. Bremer supports (D) are also reported.

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  • Divergence times among species of Bathysciola inferred by Bayesian analysis using a relaxed molecular clock. Bars at the nodes represent the 95% highest posterior density (HPD) credibility interval.

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  • Relationships among species of Bathysciola based on morphological traits. A, MP tree based on taxonomic characters; B, Bayesian tree based on both taxonomic traits and DNA barcode. Values above the branches indicate BP and PP values, respectively.

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  • Bathysciola fabiolae. Male habitus. Scale bar 1 mm.

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  • Bathysciola fabiolae. A, male, aedeagus in dorsal view; B, male, aedeagus in lateral view; C, male, right antenna; D, female, spermatheca; E, male, mesosternal keel; F, male, right foreleg. Scale bars 0.25 mm.

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  • Bathysciola octaviani. Male habitus. Scale bar 1 mm.

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  • Bathysciola octaviani. A, male, aedeagus in dorsal view; B, male, aedeagus in lateral view; C, male, right antenna; D, female, spermatheca; E, male, mesosternal keel; F, male, right foreleg. Scale bars 0.25 mm.

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  • Bathysciola valeriae. Male habitus. Scale bar 1 mm.

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  • Bathysciola valeriae. A, male, aedeagus in dorsal view; B, male, aedeagus in lateral view; C, male, right antenna; D, female, spermatheca; E, male, mesosternal keel; F, male, right foreleg. Scale bars 0.25 mm.

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