Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

JM Turbeville


Ramphogordius sanguineus (Rathke 1799) is a gregarious nemertean with a worldwide distribution and found mainly on hard substrates associated with mussels, oysters and other organisms of the fouling community. Asexual reproduction occurs by spontaneous fragmentation and only anecdotal accounts of sexual reproduction exist. This is the first phylogeographic study of R. sanguineus as well as the first species delimitation analyses employing DNA markers. Analysis of the mitochondrial gene nad6 and nuclear ISSR markers showed little diversity among geographically widespread populations, but AMOVA analyses of both markers revealed moderate to high genetic differentiation. Populations from Maine and Massachusetts exhibited the highest level of differentiation. These findings are consistent with predictions for invertebrates lacking a planktonic larval stage. Results of the nad6 tree-based delimitation analysis were in agreement with modern morphological and histocompatibility observations, suggesting that R. sanguineus is a single species and that a former division into four separate species was solely based on geographic location.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2013

Included in

Biology Commons