Marine Biology

, Volume 153, Issue 4, pp 545–563 | Cite as

Geographic clines and stepping-stone patterns detected along the East Pacific Rise in the vetigastropod Lepetodrilus elevatus reflect species crypticism

  • M. MatabosEmail author
  • E. Thiébaut
  • D. Le Guen
  • F. Sadosky
  • D. Jollivet
  • F. Bonhomme
Research Article


Three different molecular markers (i.e. seven allozyme loci, two nuclear gene loci and, mtCOI DNA sequences) were used to assess the genetic structure of the vent gastropod Lepetodrilus elevatus collected from three vent fields along the East Pacific Rise (13°N, 9°50′N and 17°S). While allozymes and nuclear loci suggested a strong stepping-stone pattern, a multivariate analysis performed on allozymic frequencies showed the presence of two distinct evolutionary lineages: the first situated in the north from 13°N to 9°50′N and the second in the south from 9°50′N to 17°S. The analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences confirmed the separation of L. elevatus into two distinct clades with a divergence of 6.5%, which is consistent with the interspecific level of sequence variation in other vent species. A divergence time of 6–14 Mya was estimated between the two clades from previous clock calibrations. Our results suggest that these taxa followed an allopatric speciation between the northern and southern parts of the EPR with a recent demographic expansion of the southern clade to the north and a subsequent secondary contact (clade hybridisation). This speciation was probably reinforced by a habitat specialisation of the two cryptic species because the southern clade was mainly found associated with mussel-dominated communities and the northern clade with tubeworm-dominated communities. However, the analysis of shell morphology failed to separate the two cryptic species based on this sole criterion although they differed from Lepetodrilus elevatus galriftensis (Galapagos population) by a higher shell elevation. Within each clade, genetic differentiation was not related to the distance across populations and could be within vent field as important as between fields. While both clades appear to be in expansion since their speciation, significant excesses in heterozygotes suggest a very recent and local bottleneck at 17°S, probably due to massive site extinction in this region.


Allelic Richness Sibling Species Shell Morphology East Pacific Rise Infinite Allele Model 
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.



We thank the crew and pilots of the RVAtalante and the DSV Nautile for their assistance and technical support during the cruises HOPE’99 and BioSpeedo’04. We also thank François Lallier, chief scientist of the HOPE’99 cruise who allowed us to collect material. We are indebted to T. Shank and J.H. McLean who provided samples from the 9°50′N vent field and Galapagos Rift, respectively. We also thank the platform GENOMER for sequences acquisition and P. Labbe and J. de Barry for their help in DALP markers production. This work was partly funded by the programme Dorsales and the GDR Ecchis (Ifremer, CNRS). It is a part of M.M. PhD thesis supported by a grant from the French Ministry of National Education and Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Matabos
    • 1
    Email author
  • E. Thiébaut
    • 2
    • 3
  • D. Le Guen
    • 2
    • 3
  • F. Sadosky
    • 1
  • D. Jollivet
    • 2
    • 3
  • F. Bonhomme
    • 4
  1. 1.Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Département Milieux et Peuplements AquatiquesUMR BOME 5178 (MNHN, UPMC, CNRS)Paris Cedex 05France
  2. 2.Station Biologique de RoscoffCNRS, UMR 7144Roscoff CedexFrance
  3. 3.Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6UMR 7144, Station Biologique de RoscoffRoscoff CedexFrance
  4. 4.Biologie IntégrativeISEM, CNRS-Université Montpellier II, UMR 5554SèteFrance

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