Another surprise in Lionepha

Two days ago I had a post about an unexpected species of Lionepha in the Sierras, of which I became aware when I looked at a specimen that my graduate student John Sproul caught on the South Fork of Bishop Creek.  Let’s call that the “Bishop Creek” species.  I mentioned in that post that there was another series from around Carson Spur, also in the Sierras, that had characteristics that were a combination of those found in several species of Lionepha.  I said:

 I had collected some females at Carson Spur and will be getting the first sequences back from those tomorrow.  I’ve also just found a male from a nearby locality that I had collected into 100% ethanol – I’m extracting it now and will look at its genitalia tomorrow.

Yesterday morning I looked at the genitalia of that male from near Carson Spur, and it clearly wasn’t any of the species known from the Sierra Nevadas.  The genital structures looked very familiar, though, and after some rummaging in my brain I realized that they looked a lot like Lionepha chintimini, a species of the coastal range in Oregon, 690 kilometers and several faunas away.  The microsculpture and body shape doesn’t match L. chintimini, but the sclerites of the internal sac of the male genitalia have some notable characters in common.  At 10 am yesterday I was convinced this was an unrecognized species related to L. chintimini.

About 1 hour later I got our new sequence data back (more on that in a separate post), including four of the Carson Spur females, and here is the 28S gene tree:

Lionepha28S.Sept2013

!!!!

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