Montenegrina

Speciation in rock-dwelling land snails: Understanding the origin of diversity using Montenegrina as a model system

Communication: Zoltán Fehér, Katharina Jaksch, Elisabeth Haring, Helmut Sattmann

Montenegrina laxa in the Terkuza valley near Tirana

Montenegrina laxa in the Terküza valley near Tirana, Central Albania

In terms of the geographical range we are broadening the area of interest towards the Balkans. The high species diversity, the large number of narrow-range endemic taxa as well as the close historical biogegraphical relationships with the Alpine fauna makes it a promising area for biodiversity research.
The Balkans, like some other limestone dominated biodiversity hotspots in the World, has a very rich obligate rock-dwelling mollusc fauna. However, relatively little is known about the factors and processes that contribute to the development and maintanence of this fascinating diversity. During our FWF funded project – ’Speciation in rock-dwelling land snails: Understanding the origin of diversity using Montenegrina as a model system (FWF P 26581-B25)’ – we will use this door-snail (clausiliid) genus to gain insight into the speciation of obligate rock-dwelling gastropods in general.
Montenegrina is distributed in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula (Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece and Albania). Like other obligate rock-dwelling animals, Montenegrina populations live on bare limestone cliff surfaces or under limestone rocks. Due to the patchy distribution of this special habitat type, the genus comprises several small range endemic taxa; according to the current Fauna Europaea system (Bank 2012), there are 88 known subspecies (which are classified into 22 species). Moreover, due to the intensive fieldwork activity of the past decade there are several recently discovered populations, some of which are presumed as new taxa and are to be described. This reflects extremely high rate of endemism as the number of known populations (based on literature records and museum collections) can be between 350 and 500.
The systematics of this taxon-rich group, as of almost every rock-dwelling gastropod group in the Mediterranean region, was almost exclusively set-up on a conchological basis. Our preliminary molecular studies, however, revealed that most of the conchological traits, which were considered taxonomically important, show morphological convergence and many ‘species’ in the current system seem to be paraphyletic. As a first step, therefore, a taxonomic revision is necessary which will be based on a sound phylogenetic footing. After this, we will be able to investigate the distribution history, character evolution and niche divergence on a strong molecular phylogenetic basis.
DNA markers that we already applied with success in our earlier studies will be used – the “long” fragment of the ribosomal rRNA genes (large subunit 16S rRNA, small subunit 12S rRNA), the COI gene and a nuclear region that involves partly the histone H3 and H4 genes with a spacer region in between.

Core Team

Elisabeth Haring

Elisabeth Haring

Natural History Museum of Vienna, Head of the Central Research Laboratories

Zoltán Fehér

Zoltán Fehér

Natural History Museum of Vienna, Central Research Laboratories

Katharina Jaksch

Katharina Jaksch

Natural History Museum of Vienna, 3rd Zoological Department

Sonja Bamberger

Sonja Bamberger

Universität Hamburg, wiss. Mitarbeiterin und Doktorandin, Abt. Malakologie

Luise Kruckenhauser

Luise Kruckenhauser

Natural History Museum of Vienna, Deputy head of the Central Research Laboratories

Helmut Sattmann

Helmut Sattmann

Natural History Museum of Vienna, Central Research Laboratories

Publications on Montenegrina

Journal Articles

Fehér, Z., & Szekeres, M. (2016). Taxonomic revision of the rock-dwelling door snail genus Montenegrina Boettger, 1877 (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Clausiliidae). ZooKeys, 599, 1–137. https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.599.8168 Cite
Fehér, Z., Mason, K., Szekeres, M., Haring, E., Bamberger, S., Páll‐Gergely, B., & Sólymos, P. (2018). Range‐constrained co‐occurrence simulation reveals little niche partitioning among rock‐dwelling Montenegrina land snails (Gastropoda: Clausiliidae). Journal of Biogeography, 45(6), 1444–1457. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13220 Cite
Jaksch, K., Kruckenhauser, L., Haring, E., & Fehér, Z. (2017). First establishment of microsatellite markers in clausiliid snails (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Clausiliidae). BMC Research Notes, 10, 137. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-017-2462-7 Cite

Abstracts

Fehér, Z., Jaksch, K., Krízsik, & Haring, E. (2014). Phylogeny of the rock-dwelling gastropd genus Montenegrina – preliminary results. Presented at the Workshop Alpine Land Snails 2014, Johnsbach, Austria.
Fehér, Z., Kruckenhauser, L., Sattmann, H., Jaksch, K., Haring, E., Bamberger, S., & Szekeres, M. (2014). Non allopatric speciation in rock-dwelling gastropods? Presented at the 8th Annual Meeting of NOBIS-Austria, Zoologische Staatssammlung München.
Fehér, Z., Jaksch, K., Krízsik, V., & Haring, E. (2014). A Montenegrina genusz molekuláris filogenetikája - előzetes eredmények. [Phylogeny of the rock-dwelling gastropod genus Montenegrina - preliminary results]. Presented at the XXXVIII. Magyar Malakológus Találkozó, Csurgó.
Fehér, Z., Haring, E., Jaksch, K., Páll-Gergely, B., Sattmann, H., Szekeres, M., … Sólymos, P. (2015). Occurrence simulations of rock-dwelling gastropods (Mollusca: Gastropoda) infer competitive exclusion and high niche similarity below the genus level. Presented at the 9th Annual Meeting of NOBIS-Austria, Eggenburg.
Fehér, Z., Haring, E., Jaksch, K., Páll-Gergely, B., Sattmann, H., Szekeres, M., … Sólymos, P. (2015). Analysis of Montenegrina (Gastropoda: Clausiliidae) co-occurrences infers high niche similarity below the genus level. In Abstracts of the International Congress on the Zoogeography and Ecology of Greece and Adjacent Regions, 13 th ICZEGAR, 7 - 11October 2015 (p. 33). Irakleio, Crete, Greece: Hellenic Zoological Society.
Jaksch, K., Haring, E., Kruckenhauser, L., Sattmann, H., & Fehér, Z. (2015). Understanding the origin of diversity in rock-dwelling land snails using Montenegrina (Gastropoda, Pulmonata) as a model system. Presented at the SMBE Meeting, Wien.
Jaksch, K., Bamberger, S., Kruckenhauser, L., Haring, E., Sattmann, H., & Fehér, Z. (2015). Speciation in rock-dwelling gastropods using the example of the genus Montenegrina. Presented at the 6th international Symposium of Ecologists of Montenegro ISEM6, Ulcinj (Montenegro).
Jaksch, K., Haring, E., Kruckenhauser, L., Sattmann, H., & Fehér, Z. (2015). Exploring speciation in the rock-dwelling land snail genus Montenegrina (Clausiliidae, Gastropoda, Pulmonata). Presented at the 9th Annual Meeting of NOBIS-Austria, Eggenburg.
Jaksch, K., Haring, E., Kruckenhauser, L., Sattmann, H., & Fehér, Z. (2015). Gaining new insights into speciation processes in rock-dwelling land snails (Montenegrina, Clausiliidae, Gastropoda, Pulmonata). Presented at the DZG-Jahrestagung 2015, Graz (Austria).
Mason, K., Haring, E., Sattmann, H., Kruckenhauser, L., & Feher, Z. (2018). Using microsatellites to assess gene flow in the land snail genus Montenegrina. In Workshop Alpine Land Snails - Anniversary (p. 27). Johnsbach, Austria.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This