Marine Biology

, Volume 148, Issue 4, pp 853–866 | Cite as

Phylogeny and geographic differentiation of Atlanto–Mediterranean species of the genus Xantho (Crustacea: Brachyura: Xanthidae) based on genetic and morphometric analyses

  • S. ReuschelEmail author
  • C. D. Schubart
Research Article


The crab genus Xantho Leach, 1814 is restricted to the northeastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It consists of four species, Xantho hydrophilus (Herbst, 1790), X. poressa (Olivi, 1792), X. pilipes A. Milne-Edwards, 1867, and X. sexdentatus (Miers, 1881). X. hydrophilus has been divided into two geographic forms, of which one, X. h. granulicarpus (Forest, 1953), is postulated to be endemic to the Mediterranean Sea. In this study, we reconstruct phylogenetic relationships of the genus Xantho and related genera from the Atlantic Ocean or Mediterranean Sea and compare different geographic populations of Xantho hydrophilus and, to a lesser extent, of X. poressa by means of population genetic and morphometric analyses. The molecular phylogeny is based on two mitochondrial genes (large subunit rRNA and cytochrome oxidase I) and indicates that X. poressa, X. hydrophilus and X. sexdentatus form a monophyletic group, the latter two species sharing identical haplotypes. On the other hand, X. pilipes shows affinities to Xanthodius denticulatus. Population genetics based on the COI gene reveal genetic differentiation within X. hydrophilus. Morphometric results also give evidence for distinct geographic forms in X. hydrophilus with a clear discrimination. In comparison, morphometric discrimination between different geographic populations of X. poressa is less clear, but still significant. We therefore suggest a recent/ongoing morphological and genetic differentiation within Xantho hydrophilus, restricted gene flow between its Atlantic and Mediterranean populations (not allowing subspecific differentiation) and possible mtDNA introgression between the species X. hydrophilus and X. sexdentatus.


Carapace Length Carapace Width Incomplete Lineage Sorting Mediterranean Population Transitional Form 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Our special thanks go to Senckenberg Museum Frankfurt, Naturalis Museum Leiden, Muséum National d‘Histoire Naturelle Paris, Dirk Brandis, Darryl Felder, Gustavo Flores, Joana Garcia, Danièle Guinot, Jürgen and Maike Heinze, Fernando Mantelatto, Carsten Müller, Tobias Santl, Rafael Robles, Reiner Rubner, José Cuesta, Henrik and Sophia Schubart, Cédric d’Udekem d’Acoz, Peter Wirtz, and Petra Zillner, for helping to collect or sending xanthoid crabs. Thanks are further due to Estelle Roux for helpful discussions of statistical tests, Katja Pusch for support with Arlequin and Anne Hartmann for her comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biologie IUniversität RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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