Campus Units

Natural Resource Ecology and Management

Document Type


Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Ecology and evolution





First Page


Last Page





Accurately identifying species is a crucial step for developing conservation strategies for freshwater mussels, one of the most imperiled faunas in North America. This study uses genetic data to re-examine species delineation in the genus Cyprogenia. Historically, Cyprogenia found west of the Mississippi River have been ascribed to Cyprogenia aberti (Conrad 1850), and those east of the Mississippi River were classified as Cyprogenia stegaria (Rafinesque 1820). Previous studies using mitochondrial DNA sequences indicated that C. aberti and C. stegaria were not reciprocally monophyletic groups, suggesting the need for systematic revision. We generated a novel dataset consisting of 10 microsatellite loci and combined it with sequence data from the mitochondrial ND1 gene for 223 Cyprogenia specimens. Bayesian analysis of the ND1 nucleotide sequences identified two divergent clades that differ by 15.9%. Members of these two clades occur sympatrically across most sampling locations. In contrast, microsatellite genotypes support recognition of three allopatric clusters defined by major hydrologic basins. The divergent mitochondrial lineages are highly correlated with the color of the conglutinate lures used by mussels to attract and infest host fishes, and tests for selection at the ND1 locus were positive. We infer that the incongruence between mtDNA and microsatellite data in Cyprogenia may be the result of a combination of incomplete lineage sorting and balancing selection on lure color. Our results provide further evidence that mitochondrial markers are not always neutral with respect to selection, and highlight the potential problems of relying on a single-locus-marker for delineating species.


This article is published as Chong, Jer Pin, John L. Harris, and Kevin J. Roe. "Incongruence between mtDNA and nuclear data in the freshwater mussel genus Cyprogenia (Bivalvia: Unionidae) and its impact on species delineation." Ecology and evolution 6, no. 8 (2016): 2439-2452. doi: 10.1002/ece3.2071. Posted with permission.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright Owner

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.



File Format