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Boring systematics: a genome skimmed phylogeny of ctenostome bryozoans and their endolithic family Penetrantiidae with the description of one new species
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  • Sebastian Hellmuth Decker,
  • Ahmed Saadi,
  • Christian Baranyi,
  • Masato Hirose,
  • Sarah Lemer,
  • Andy Sombke,
  • Felipe Aguilera-Muñoz,
  • Leandro Vieira,
  • Abigail Smith,
  • Andrea Waeschenbach,
  • Thomas Schwaha
Sebastian Hellmuth Decker
University of Vienna

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Ahmed Saadi
University of Vienna
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Christian Baranyi
University of Vienna
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Masato Hirose
Kitasato University
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Sarah Lemer
University of Guam
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Andy Sombke
Medical University of Vienna
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Felipe Aguilera-Muñoz
Universidad de Concepción
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Leandro Vieira
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
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Abigail Smith
University of Otago
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Andrea Waeschenbach
Natural History Museum
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Thomas Schwaha
University of Vienna
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Ctenostomes are a group of gymnolaemate bryozoans with an uncalcified chitinous body wall having few external, skeletal characters. Hence, species identification is challenging and their systematics remain poorly understood, even more so when they exhibit an endolithic (boring) lifestyle. Currently, there are four Recent families of endolithic bryozoans that live inside in mineralized substrates like mollusk shells. In particular, Penetrantiidae Silén, 1946 has received considerable attention and its systematic affinity to either cheilostomes or ctenostomes has been debated. Species delimitation of penetrantiids remains difficult, owing to a high degree of colonial and zooidal plasticity. Consequently, an additional molecular approach is essential to unravel the systematics of penetrantiids, their phylogenetic placement and their species diversity. We therefore sequenced the mitochondrial (mt) genomes and two nuclear markers of 27 ctenostome species including nine penetrantiids. Our phylogeny supports the Penetrantiidae as a monophyletic group placed as sister taxa to the remaining ctenostomes alongside paludicellids and arachnoidids. Our results also suggest that the endolithic lifestyle evolved at least twice independently within ctenostomes, since the boring families Terebriporidae d’Orbigny, 1847 and Penetrantiidae are well separated. Ctenostome paraphyly is supported by our data, as the cheilostomes nest within them. A Multiporata clade is also well supported, including the former victorelloid genus Sundanella. Altogether, this study provides new insights into ctenostome systematics, assists with species delimitation and contributes to our understanding of the bryozoan tree of life.
05 Oct 2023Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
06 Oct 2023Submission Checks Completed
06 Oct 2023Assigned to Editor
24 Feb 2024Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
05 Mar 2024Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
20 Mar 2024Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
02 Apr 2024Editorial Decision: Accept
Apr 2024Published in Ecology and Evolution volume 14 issue 4. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.11276