Kara, Jyothi; Macdonald, Angus H.H.; Simon, Carol A. (2018). Integrative taxonomic methods reveal an incorrect synonymisation of the South African Pseudonereis podocirra (Schmarda) as the widespread Pseudonereis variegata (Grube) from Chile. Invertebrate Systematics. 32(6): 1282-1297.
The nereidid Pseudonereis variegata (Grube, 1866) described from Chile includes 14 synonymised species from 10 type localities with a discontinuous distribution, but no taxonomic or molecular studies have investigated the status of this species outside Chile. Two synonymised species, Mastigonereis podocirra Schmarda, 1861 and Nereis (Nereilepas) stimpsonis Grube, 1866, were described from South Africa and investigated here using morphological examination. MtCOI species delimitation analyses and morphology were used to determine the status of P. variegata in South Africa. Morphological examination revealed that museum and freshly collected specimens from South Africa that conform to the general description of P. variegata are similar to M. podocirra and N. stimpsonis with respect to the consistent absence of homogomph spinigers in the inferior neuropodial fascicle, expanded notopodial ligules and the subterminal attachment of dorsal cirri in posterior parapodia. The synonymy of M. podocirra and N. stimpsonis as P. variegata are rejected and P. podocirra, comb. nov. is reinstated. Morphologically, Pseudonereis podocirra differed from specimens from Chile with regard to the numbers of paragnaths, the absence of homogomph spinigers and changes in parapodial morphology along the body. Independence of these species was further supported by genetic distances, automatic barcode gap discovery and multi-rate Poisson tree process species delimitation analyses of 77 mtCOI sequences. Haplotype network revealed no genetic structuring within the South African populations.