Two new bioluminescent Henlea from Siberia and lack of molecular support for Hepatogaster (Annelida, Clitellata, Enchytraeidae)


Two bioluminescent enchytraeids, Henlea petushkovi sp. n. and Henlea rodionovae sp. n., are described from the Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk regions in Eastern Siberia. These large potworms exhibit the typical light-production pattern reported repeatedly in the genus and recently elucidated by Russian researchers in its main biophysical and biochemical aspects. Morphology and DNA indicate that the two species are very closely related, but clearly divergent in the strength of the body wall (thick and opaque in H. petushkovi), structure of the prostomium (in H. rodionovae unprecedentedly wrinkled and mobile), brain shape (almost equilateral in H. petushkovi), size of coelomocytes (60–85 μm in H. petushkovi) and structure of intestinal diverticula (tulip-shaped in H. petushkovi, apple-shaped in H. rodionovae). Limited hybridization seems to occur between them, supported by a single case of conflict between COI and morphology, and a few intermediate morphotypes were noted in greenhouse populations. The new species are phylogenetically distant from all known congeners so far DNA-barcoded, even those that, like them, respond to the diagnosis of the putative subgenus Hepatogaster Čejka, 1910 (multitubular gut diverticula in VIII, indented brain, dorsal blood vessel from IX, prominent spermathecal glands, and nephridia from 5/6). In fact, our phylogenetic analyses dismiss Hepatogaster as an artificial (polyphyletic) taxon. Issues related to the definition of H. nasuta (Eisen, 1878), H. ochracea (Eisen, 1878) and H. irkutensis Burov, 1929, three species originally described from Siberia, indicate that Henlea taxonomy is still in a state of flux, as regards not only species interrelationships but also species definitions.

Organisms Diversity and Evolution, 18: 291-312