Integrative Taxonomy of Cones Snails (Conidae, Gastropoda) Giving new Insight Into The Role of Ecosystem in Speciation

Shijin Ameri, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Marine Biodiversity Division, Kochi, Ernakulam, India, Laxmilatha P, Central marine fisheries research institute, Madras research centre, Chennai, India, Labeeb K a, Central marine fisheries research institute, Kochi, India, Ranjith L, Central marine fisheries research institute, Tutucorin Research centre, India and Kathirvelapandian A, PMFGR Centre of National bureau of fish genetic resource, Kochi, India
Cone snails are evolutionary significant molluscs because of its extraordinary taxonomic and ecological diversity. Morphological parameters were recorded for the Conus catus species collected from different ecosystems such as rocky intertidal beds, lagoons, and inner reef platforms of Lakshadweep (Arabian Sea) and Andaman Nicobar (Bay of Bengal) archipelagos of Indian Ocean. Specific differences were observed for shell coloration of specimen collected from varying ecosystem and maximum likelihood clustering approach were done based on mitochondrial genes, COI, 16srRNA, 12srRNA and Nuclear Histone3 genes The rocky shore C.catus from both Arabian sea and bay of Bengal have the same morphological and genetic character even they are from different seas and the coral reef habituated specimens also following the same pattern of morphogenetic similarity. Multiple molecular markers based analysis reviled that ecological niche depended divergent evolutionary selective pressure is acting on both mitochondrial and nuclear markers are characterized by the ecosystem apart from the physical geographic distance and giving the new insight into the evolutionary genetic process hidden in allopathic speciation.We also observed that C.striolatus a morphologically closely related species to rocky shore C.catus is the outcome of sympatric speciation through the selection pressures exerting on each other in rocky intertidal ecosystems.The two morph types of C.catus are in the way of ecological speciation and the present study also reminds that basic unit of biodiversity conservation should be the ecosystem not the species.