Complete mitochondrial genomes and phylogenetic relationships

Spiders of the genera Nephila and Trichonephila are large orb-weaving spiders. In view of the lack of study on the mitogenome of these genera, and the conflicting systematic status, we sequenced (by next generation sequencing) and annotated the complete mitogenomes of N. pilipesT. antipodiana and T. vitiana (previously N. vitiana) to determine their features and phylogenetic relationship. Most of the tRNAs have aberrant clover-leaf secondary structure. Based on 13 protein-coding genes (PCGs) and 15 mitochondrial genes (13 PCGs and two rRNA genes), Nephila and Trichonephila form a clade distinctly separated from the other araneid subfamilies/genera. T. antipodiana forms a lineage with T. vitiana in the subclade containing also T. clavata, while N. pilipes forms a sister clade to Trichonephila. The taxon vitiana is therefore a member of the genus Trichonephila and not Nephila as currently recognized.

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Fig: Complete mitogenomes of Nephila pilipesTrichonephila antipodianaT. vitiana (previously N. vitiana) and T. clavata with BRIG visualization showing the protein-coding genes, rRNAs and tRNAs. GC skew is shown on the outer surface of the ring whereas GC content is shown on the inner surface. The anticodon of each tRNAs is shown in parentheses. 

Studies on the mitogenomes of other Nephila and Trichonephila species and related taxa are needed to provide a potentially more robust phylogeny and systematics.

Yong, HS., Song, SL., Chua, KO. et al. Complete mitochondrial genomes and phylogenetic relationships of the genera Nephila and Trichonephila (Araneae, Araneoidea). Sci Rep 11, 10680 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-90162-1

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