Mitochondrial DNA Analysis Suggests Invasion of Thailand Coast by a Single Species of Dreissenidae, Mytilopsis sallei

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Wanlada Klangnurak
Kringpaka Wangkulangkul


In 2001, a species of false mussel was recorded in coastal areas in southern Thailand. In 2008, established populations were reported in several estuaries and lagoons. Based on shell morphology, the bivalve was identified as a non-native species belonging to Dreissenidae. To date, populations have been observed in five locations in southern Thailand on both the Andaman and Gulf of Thailand coasts. The variation in shell morphology within and between these locations led us to question whether specimens in different locations belonged to different species. We used morphometric techniques to investigate variation in shell characteristics among the five locations and mtDNA (COI) analysis to investigate genetic variation. Shell characteristics varied among locations; the shell morphology of specimens from some locations on the Andaman coast appeared to be similar to that of specimens from the Gulf coast. Most specimens had long, prominent apophyses, but in some specimens they were rounded and not prominent. In spite of the high variation in shell morphology, molecular analysis indicated that all COI gene sequences of the specimens examined are nearly identical and belong to a single species, Mytilopsis sallei. Phylogenetic analyses also revealed the monophyly of 25 sequences between our specimens and other M. sallei sequences from GenBank, with high bootstrap support. Our recent findings suggest that the name M. sallei should be applied to the false mussel in southern Thailand. However, this merits confirmation with analysis using other molecular markers, and more specimens should be included.



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