n African Zoology - Sympatric species (Gastropoda : Planorbidae) in Lake Albert, Uganda, show homoplasies in shell morphology

Volume 43, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X
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The three known sympatric species that occur in Lake Albert; and , were studied using both molecular (COI, 16S and ITS) and shell morphometric data. An unidentified sample of 18 specimens from Lake Albert were divided in three morphotypes according to aperture height and coiling rate and subsequently identified through molecular inferences and morphometry. The 18 specimens were identified as follows; six specimens were identified as , seven species as , four as and a single specimen as . The latter was inferred with strong molecular support only, since it had similar shell morphology to typical snails, thus it might be an ecophenotypic form of adapted to a lacustrine environment. exists in forms that resemble , and has further overlap in morphology with . However, the results showed some disagreement between molecular and morphometric identification, hence making it difficult to rely on shell morphology alone in identification. Overall the morphometric analysis divided in two possible ecophenotypes i.e. a lacustrine type with rapidly increasing whorls and relatively high apertures and a non-lacustrine type (including snails inhabiting lake edges) with slowly increasing whorls and low apertures.

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