Integrative taxonomic approaches are increasingly providing species-level resolution to ‘cryptic’ diversity. In the absence of an integrative taxonomic approach, formal species validation is often lacking because of inadequate morphological diagnoses. Colouration and chaetotaxy are the most commonly used characters in collembolan taxonomy but can cause confusion in species diagnoses because these characters often have large intraspecific variation. Here, we take an integrative approach to the genus Dicranocentrus in China where four species have been previously recognised, but several members of the genus have been morphologically grouped as a species complex based on having paired outer teeth on unguis and seven colour patterns. Molecular delimitations based on distance- and evolutionary models recovered four candidate lineages from three gene markers and revealed that speciation events likely occurred during the late Neogene (4–13 million years ago). Comparison of intact dorsal chaetotaxy, whose homologies were erected on the basis of first instar larva, further validated these candidates as formal species: D. gaoligongensis, sp. nov., D. similis, sp. nov., D. pallidus, sp. nov. and D. varicolor, sp. nov., and increase the number of Dicranocentrus species from China to eight. Our study further highlights the importance of adequate taxonomy in linking morphological and molecular characters within integrative taxonomy.
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Vol. 32 • No. 6