Meeting Abstract

6-3  Thursday, Jan. 5 08:30 - 08:45  Clearing up taxonomic confusion in South American Tonicia (Mollusca: Polyplacophora) EERNISSE, DJ*; IBAƑEZ, CM; California State University, Fullerton, USA; Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile

The shell-eyed chitons of the genus, Tonicia Gray, 1847 (Chitonidae), are restricted to the tropical and southern hemisphere coastlines of the New World. Their greatest diversity is found along the South American coast of Chile, where they are also ecologically important and conspicuous grazers. Yet study of their biology is hindered by a long history of name confusion, including the widespread usage of two names, T. elegans (Frembly, 1827) and T. lineolata (Frembly, 1827). Unfortunately, these are preoccupied names that need to be replaced with the next oldest available names. The problem became even more convoluted when we undertook, with other co-authors reported elsewhere, a study of their molecular systematics, and the molecular clades did not correspond in all cases to the species concepts currently is use. This led us to investigate the type material of the oldest nominal species, almost exclusively housed at the Natural History Museum, London. Here we recount how with considerable help provided by the museum staff, we eventually came to assign names to the seven South American species we consider valid, but whose identity is shuffled compared to names in usage now. Better resolution of this genus has provided opportunities for investigating ecological, reproductive, morphological, and biogeographic aspects of an endemic South American evolutionary radiation. Funding has been provided by NSF (DEB 1355230 to DJE) and FONDECYT (1130266 and 3140610 to CMI).