• 16S rRNA marker strongly supports the monophyly of Myrmecophilidae
  • Molecular species tend to be clustered geographically
  • The 16s marker could only partially separate the morpho-species
  • Our study suggests the presence of cryptic species inside caves
  • More gene markers are needed to resolve the taxonomy of Eremogryllodes species


Recently, several new species and subspecies from the genus Eremogryllodes Chopard, 1929 (Insecta: Orthoptera: Myrmecophilidae) inhabiting caves of Iran, have been described based on morphology. The high variation of genitalia structure along with high similarity of external morphology between populations hamper the precise species identification. Thus, molecular approaches are critical to determine the taxonomic positions of species/subspecies of this genus. Here we provide the molecular phylogeny, based on the 16S rRNA mitochondrial gene, of recently described species of Eremogryllodes along with some unidentified specimens from the same region. The results support the monophyly of the family Myrmecophilidae. The topology of the 16S rRNA tree did not completely support the five morpho-species. The three main recovered clades mainly grouped specimens by their geographical locations. Our study suggests the possibility of more than one species in one cave and the presence of cryptic species among cave dwelling crickets, based on the 16S rRNA marker.



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