Re-examination of the taxonomy of the Macrobrachium australiense Holthuis (Decapoda : Palaemonidae) species-complex: molecular evidence for a single species Academic Article uri icon


  • The freshwater shrimp Macrobrachium australiense is distributed throughout the majority of inland, north-west, north-east and eastern drainages. Owing to the large amount of morphological divergence, both between and within catchments, this species has proven to be taxonomically difficult and, until recently, consisted of three separate species, each with subsequent subspecies. This study uses nucleotide sequences from the 16S rRNA mitochondrial gene region to investigate the genetic relationships between populations and confirm the taxonomic status of M. australiense. The results from sequencing an approximately 450-bp fragment from this gene region from M. australiense sampled from 12 locations across inland, eastern and northern Australia identified very little variation. The variation found between 16S M. australiense haplotypes is much less than that found between Macrobrachium species, indicating that it is in fact a single species. The results are concordant with a recent morphological revision of Australian species in which nominal taxa of the M. australiense complex were synonymised.

publication date

  • 2004