Reconstructing routes of invasion of Obama nungara (Platyhelminthes: Tricladida) in the Iberian Peninsula.
Among other factors, globalization has promoted the spread of alien organisms, posing a great risk to Earth's biodiversity. Land planarians of the family Geoplanidae especially benefit from human-mediated transport. Many species become established in new areas, where they represent threats to the native soil fauna. Obama nungara is a species described from Brazil, but with many well-established populations in Europe. In this study, specimens from Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and Spain were morphologically and molecularly studied to establish the potential origin of the invasive events within the Iberian Peninsula. Analyses of the mitochondrial lineages (haplotype networks) of these populations revealed previously unknown relationships and biogeographical patterns that suggest an Argentine origin for the Iberian populations. Furthermore, comparative analysis of Argentine, Iberian and Brazilian populations revealed three well-defined and distinct O. nungara clades. Our findings suggest two independent introductions of different populations from Argentina that gave rise to the different Iberian populations. This population diversity suggests hidden biodiversity of alien land planarians in invaded areas and their invasive and adaptive potential.