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Diversity of Land Snail Tribe Helicini (Gastropoda: Stylommatophora: Helicidae): Where Do We Stand after 20 Years of Sequencing Mitochondrial Markers?

Publication at Faculty of Science |


Sequences of mitochondrial genes revolutionized the understanding of animal diversity and continue to be an important tool in biodiversity research. In the tribe Helicini, a prominent group of the western Palaearctic land snail fauna, mitochondrial data accumulating since the 2000s helped to newly delimit genera, inform species-level taxonomy and reconstruct past range dynamics.

We combined the published data with own unpublished sequences and provide a detailed overview of what they revealed about the diversity of the group. The delimitation of Helix is revised by placing Helix godetiana back in the genus and new synonymies are suggested within the genera Codringtonia and Helix.

The spatial distribution of intraspecific mitochondrial lineages of several species is shown for the first time. Comparisons between species reveal considerable variation in distribution patterns of intraspecific lineages, from broad postglacial distributions to regions with a fine-scale pattern of allopatric lineage replacement.

To provide a baseline for further research and information for anyone re-using the data, we thoroughly discuss the gaps in the current dataset, focusing on both taxonomic and geographic coverage. Thanks to the wealth of data already amassed and the relative ease with which they can be obtained, mitochondrial sequences remain an important source of information on intraspecific diversity over large areas and taxa.