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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2010 Sep;56(3):1025-39. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2010.03.008. Epub 2010 Mar 11.

A molecular phylogenetic framework for the Muricidae, a diverse family of carnivorous gastropods.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biologia animale e dell'Uomo, La Sapienza University of Rome, Viale dell'Universit√† 32, 00187 Roma, Italy.


With over 1600 extant described species, the Muricidae are one of the most species-rich and morphologically diverse families of molluscs. As predators of molluscs, polychaetes, anthozoans barnacles and other invertebrates, they form an important component of many benthic communities. Traditionally, the classification of muricids at specific and generic levels has been based primarily on shells, while subfamilies have been defined largely by radular morphology, although the composition and relationships of suprageneric groups have never been studied exhaustively. Here we present the phylogenetic relationships of 77 muricid species belonging to nine of the ten currently recognized subfamilies, based on Bayesian inference and Maximum Likelihood analyses of partial sequences of three mitochondrial (12S, 16S and COI) and one nuclear (28S) genes. The resulting topologies are discussed with respect to traditional subfamilial arrangements, and previous anatomical and molecular findings. We confirm monophyly of each of the subfamilies Ergalataxinae, Rapaninae, Coralliophilinae, Haustrinae, Ocenebrinae and Typhinae as previously defined, but earlier concepts of Muricinae, Trophoninae and Muricopsinae are shown to be polyphyletic. Based on our phylogenetic hypothesis, a new arrangement of these subfamilies is proposed.

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