Among 8000-9000 species of Cnidaria, only several dozens of species of Hydrozoa have been found in the fresh water. Hydra is such a fresh water polyp and has been used as a good material for research in developmental biology, regeneration and pattern formation. Although the genus Hydra has only a few ten species, its distribution is cosmopolitan. The phylogenetic relationship between hydra species is fascinating from the aspect of evolutionary biology and biogeography. However, only a few molecular phylogenetic studies have been reported on hydra. Therefore, we conducted a molecular phylogenetic study of the genus Hydra based on mitochondrial and nuclear nucleotide sequences using a hydra collection that has been kept in the National Institute of Genetics (NIG) of Japan. The results support the idea that four species groups comprise the genus Hydra. Within the viridissima group (green hydra) and braueri group, genetic distances between strains were relatively large. In contrast, genetic distances between strains among the vulgaris and oligactis groups were small irrespective of their geographic distribution. The vulgaris group strains were classified at least (as far as our investigated samples) into three sub-groups, vulgaris sub-group, carnea sub-group, and H. sp. (K5 and K6) sub-group. All of the vulgaris sub-group and H. sp. (K5 and K6) sub-group strains were collected in Eurasia. The carnea sub-group strains in NIG collection were all collected in North America. A few newly collected samples in Japan, however, suggested belonging to the carnea sub-group according to the molecular phylogenic analysis. This suggests a trans-Pacific distribution of the carnea sub-group hydra.
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