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Phylogenetic analyses of Aplysiomorpha (Mollusca, Opisthobranchia), based on comparative morphology and systematics review of the Brazilian species

Grant number: 10/11253-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2010
Effective date (End): September 30, 2013
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Principal Investigator:Luiz Ricardo Lopes de Simone
Grantee:Carlo Magenta Cunha
Home Institution: Museu de Zoologia (MZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Abstract

Aplysiomorpha is characterized by the presence of opaline gland, ink gland and gizzards. The taxonomy of the group is controversial, and often based on external color patterns. The taxon is currently divided into two superfamilies, Akeroidea and Aplysioidea, that together comprise about 90 species, typically found in intertidal regions around the world. The main objective of the present work is to perform a phylogenetic analysis of Aplysiomorpha based on morphological data derived from detailed anatomical study of the soft parts. Representatives of all current genus will be analyzed. Based on the results of the phylogenetic analysis a taxonomic review of known Brazilian species will be performed and dichotomous keys produced. The material will come from Brazilian and international malacological. The methodologies adopted are widely accepted, and have been described in the appropriate sections. This study fills a gap in the knowledge of phylogenetic relationships and morphology of the group. The taxonomy of Aplysiomorpha of Brazil, in particular, is still unclear and has not been reviewed, although some species, especially within the genus Aplysia, that is widely used as model organisms in other areas of science such as pharmacology and neuroscience. (AU)