Although some fossil records attributed to the freshwater limpet genus Ferrissia testify for an ancient occurrence of the genus in Europe, its presence was completely overlooked till the twentieth century, whenan increasing amount of records throughout the whole continent peaked out with the description of a new species, Ferrissia wautieri, based on specimens collectedin northern Italy. In the last few years, an ever increasing number of records reporting the occurrence of Ferrissia species throughout Europe have been published, but anagreement on the taxonomical identity of the European populations is currently missing. Recent molecular studies aimed at investigating the identity of PalaearcticFerrissia species proved the occurrence in Europe and Asia of a number of populations belonging to the allochthonous north American Ferrissia fragilis, while no evidences to support the presence of autochthonousspecies have been found; furthermore, the possibility that F. wautieri and F. clessiniana, originally described from Italy and Egypt, respectively, could be juniorsynonyms of F. fragilis have been raised. In order to test this hypothesis, some specimens from the locus typicus of Ferrissia wautieri (Lago Maggiore and Lago di Mergozzo) and from other localities in southern Italy and Sicily have been collected and studied with molecular tools. The 16S and COI haplotypes of all the analysed specimens proved to belong to the North American Ferrissia fragilis, thus casting severe doubts onthe status of bona species for F. wautieri. It is desirable that future studies are carried out including samples from other Mediterranean countries, and especiallyfrom Egypt (i.e. the locus typicus of F. clessiniana), with the aim of testing the possible existence of autochthonous Ferrissia species in the Palaearctic region.
|Number of pages||1|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|