Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



PLoS One





Inclusive Pages





DNA, Mitochondrial--genetics; Electron Transport Complex IV--genetics; Gastropoda--classification; Gastropoda--genetics


The systematic relationships and phylogeography of Cerion incanum, the only species of Cerion native to the Florida Keys, are reviewed based on partial sequences of the mitochondrial COI and 16S genes derived from 18 populations spanning the range of this species and including the type localities of all four described subspecies. Our samples included specimens of Cerion casablancae, a species introduced to Indian Key in 1912, and a population of C. incanum x C. casablancae hybrids descended from a population of C. casablancae introduced onto Bahia Honda Key in the same year. Molecular data did not support the partition of C. incanum into subspecies, nor could populations be apportioned reliably into subspecies based on morphological features used to define the subspecies. Phylogenetic analyses affirmed the derived relationship of C. incanum relative to other cerionids, and indicated a Bahamian origin for the Cerion fauna of southern Florida. Relationships among the populations throughout the Keys indicate that the northernmost populations, closest to the Tomeu paleoislands that had been inhabited by Cerion petuchi during the Calabrian Pleistocene, are the oldest. The range of Cerion incanum expanded as the archipelago that is the Florida Keys was formed since the lower Tarantian Pleistocene by extension from the northeast to the southwest, with new islands populated as they were formed. The faunas of the High Coral Keys in the northeast and the Oölite Keys in the southwest, both with large islands that host multiple discontinuous populations of Cerion, are each composed of well supported clades that are characterized by distinctive haplotypes. In contrast, the fauna of the intervening Low Coral Keys consist of a heterogeneous series of populations, some with haplotypes derived from the High Coral Keys, others from the Oölite Keys. Individuals from the C. incanum x C. casablancae hybrid population inhabiting the southeastern coast of Bahia Honda Key were readily segregated based on their mitogenome lineage, grouping either with C. incanum or with C. casablancae from Indian Key. Hybrids with C. casablancae mitogenomes had haplotypes that were more divergent from their parent mitogenome than were hybrids with C. incanum mitogenomes.


Reproduced with permission of PLoS One.

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