Identification of pinnid species is based largely on morphological characteristics that are highly plastic; thus, classification of pinnids remains controversial. We identified a species of Atrina, found along the southern China coast, as Atrina chinensis Deshayes, 1841, but other authors have treated it as a synonym of Atrina pectinata Linnaeus, 1767. The objective of this study was to clarify the taxonomic status of this species by comparing both morphological and genetic data with data from other Atrina species. Of the 4 shell parameters analyzed, only 1 (size of the posterior adductor) differed significantly between A. pectinata and A. chinensis. However, these species did not form a clade on the phylogenetic trees constructed based on nuclear 28S rRNA or the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (mtCOI) and 16S rRNA genes. Moreover, A. chinensis is, genetically, is a sister taxon to Atrina vexillum instead of A. pectinata. We suggest that A. chinensis is a valid taxon and not a synonym of A. pectinata.
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