Monday, December 10, 2007 - 8:41 AM

Revision of Tomoceridae (Collembola) of the southern Appalachians using morphological and molecular approaches

Kelly L. Felderhoff,, University of Tennessee, Entomology & Plant Pathology, 2431 Joe Johnson Drive, Room 205 Ellington Plant Sciences Bldg, Knoxville, TN and Ernest C. Bernard,, University of Tennessee, Entomology and Plant Pathology, 2505 E. J. Chapman Drive, 213 Biotechnology Bldg, Knoxville, TN.

Large, heavily scaled tomocerid springtails (Collembola) are abundant in eastern forests, and are important components of the detrital food web, but understanding of their systematics is incomplete and out-of-date. Prior to this project, five species were known to occur in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a major focus of our collection efforts. Four of these species, in the genus Pogonognathellus, are difficult to distinguish from one another morphologically. The goals of this project are to determine correlations of scale patterns and colors, ground color, morphology, and DNA sequences for separation of species. More than 400 individuals were collected and maintained in live culture containers. After a specimen molted, it was photographed to capture the pristine scale pattern and color, then preserved in 100% ethanol. The preserved specimen was rephotographed for ground color (most scales are dislodged in preservative) and analyzed molecularly by sequencing the 5'-3 exoribonuclease II gene amplified by using the polymerase chain reaction. Scale patterns, ground color, and DNA sequences were highly correlated, and indicated the existence of 2 new species, a resurrected species, and 2 species complexes. American and European specimens of Pogonognathellus flavescens, a highly variable species described in Europe, was analyzed molecularly and the two were found to be different, suggesting this species does not occur in North America. A phylogenetic analysis of Tomoceridae in the southern Appalachians was created, using Harlomillsia oculata (Oncopoduridae) and Tomocerus minor as the outgroups.

Species 1: Collembola Tomoceridae Pogonognathellus flavescens