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Diversity 2016, 8(3), 16; doi:10.3390/d8030016

Tropical Range Extension for the Temperate, Endemic South-Eastern Australian Nudibranch Goniobranchus splendidus (Angas, 1864)

1
Western Australian Museum, 49 Kew Street, Welshpool WA 6106, Australia
2
School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley 6009 WA, Australia
3
School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD 4072, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Michael Wink
Received: 25 April 2016 / Revised: 6 July 2016 / Accepted: 15 July 2016 / Published: 22 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coral Reef Biodiversity and Conservation)
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Abstract

In contrast to many tropical animals expanding southwards on the Australian coast concomitant with climate change, here we report a temperate endemic newly found in the tropics. Chromodorid nudibranchs are bright, colourful animals that rarely go unnoticed by divers and underwater photographers. The discovery of a new population, with divergent colouration is therefore significant. DNA sequencing confirms that despite departures from the known phenotypic variation, the specimen represents northern Goniobranchus splendidus and not an unknown close relative. Goniobranchus tinctorius represents the sister taxa to G. splendidus. With regard to secondary defences, the oxygenated terpenes found previously in this specimen are partially unique but also overlap with other G. splendidus from southern Queensland (QLD) and New South Wales (NSW). The tropical specimen from Mackay contains extracapsular yolk like other G. splendidus. This previously unknown tropical population may contribute selectively advantageous genes to cold-water species threatened by climate change. Competitive exclusion may explain why G. splendidus does not strongly overlap with its widespread sister taxon. View Full-Text
Keywords: Chromodorididae; phenotypic variation; secondary metabolites Chromodorididae; phenotypic variation; secondary metabolites
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wilson, N.G.; Winters, A.E.; Cheney, K.L. Tropical Range Extension for the Temperate, Endemic South-Eastern Australian Nudibranch Goniobranchus splendidus (Angas, 1864). Diversity 2016, 8, 16.

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