Morphological and Molecular Studies of the Rapa Whelk, Rapana venosa (Neogastropoda, Muricidae), from Odesa Bay
The gastropod Rapana venosa (Valenciennes, 1846) is a successful worldwide invader occurring in the Black Sea. The aim of this study is to overview specific population features of this mollusk from Odesa Bay through integrative systematic approach by means of morphological and molecular research. For this purpose, the mollusks were collected from the Black Sea and examined using morphological methods: traditional morphometry, which employs linear parameters of shells (height, width, whorl
... , whorl width, height of the last whorl) and shell weight, and geometric morphometrics of the shell shape data. For a molecular genetic test, the COI gene region was used. Among all conchological variability, the two morphotypes were defined: the first has a "broad" shape — shells have a thick and durable last whorl and a low spire, and the second one — "extended" shape: shells are relatively slender with an elongated high-conical spire. According to the geometric morphometric data, R. venosa has statistically significant differences between defined morphotypes (F = 4.12, p = 0.001); however, the shapes in males and females are not significantly different (F = 1.13, p = 0.318). No genetic diversity, neither novel haplotypes were revealed by the molecular analysis: in Odesa Bay, the haplotype occurring also in other regions of invasion across the world is present.