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Sci Rep. 2014 Jul 3;4:5553. doi: 10.1038/srep05553.

Molecular phylogeny of Orthetrum dragonflies reveals cryptic species of Orthetrum pruinosum.

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Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
1] Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia [2] Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Centre for Insect Systematics, School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43000 Bangi, Selangor D.E., Malaysia.
Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10700, Thailand.
Faculty of Science and Mathematics, Mataram University, Mataram, Indonesia.


Dragonflies of the genus Orthetrum are members of the suborder Anisoptera, family Libellulidae. There are species pairs whose members are not easily separated from each other by morphological characters. In the present study, the DNA nucleotide sequences of mitochondrial and nuclear genes were employed to elucidate the phylogeny and systematics of Orthetrum dragonflies. Phylogenetic analyses could not resolve the various subfamilies of the family Libellulidae unequivocally. The nuclear 28S rRNA gene is highly conserved and could not resolve congeneric species of Orthetrum. Individual mitochondrial genes (COI, COII, and 16S rRNA) and combination of these genes as well as the nuclear ITS1&2 genes clearly differentiate morphologically similar species, such as the reddish species pairs O. chrysis and O. testaceum, and the bluish-coloured species O. glaucum and O. luzonicum. This study also reveals distinct genetic lineages between O. pruinosum schneideri (occurring in Malaysia) and O. pruinosum neglectum (occurring north of Peninsular Malaysia from India to Japan), indicating these taxa are cryptic species.

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