Genetic Diversity

A variety of genetics tests and statistical analyses were performed to determine if 2 species that resemble one another (P. apalachicolae and P. econfinae) should be recognized as unique species (Figure 2.5). All things considered, the recommendation of the geneticists is that the “apalachicolae clade”, or group of similar-looking crayfish, actually includes 4 genetically distinct or recognizable species. These 4 species are related to P. kilbyi in that they shared a common ancestor at one point along the evolutionary continuum. The 5 genetically different groups of crayfish also appear to inhabit discrete areas across the range, with little overlap (based on sampling location data). Based on this analysis, each of the proposed “apalachicolae clade” species of crayfish occur in unique/distinct areas of the Central Florida Panhandle (Breinholt and Moler 2016) (Figure 2.5).

PCC genetics map.
Figure 2.5. Phylogenetic tree based on 3 mitochondrial genes and map of the sample locations colored by clade (Breinholt and Moler 2016).