As molecular identification method, DNA barcoding based on partial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) sequences has been proven to be a useful tool for species determination in many insect taxa including ground beetles. In this study we tested the effectiveness of DNA barcodes to discriminate species of the ground beetle genus Bembidion and some closely related taxa of Germany. DNA barcodes were obtained from 819 individuals and 78 species, including sequences from previous studies as well as more than 300 new generated DNA barcodes. We found a 1:1 correspondence between BIN and traditionally recognized species for 69 species (89%). Low interspecific distances with maximum pairwise K2P values below 2.2% were found for three species pairs, including two species pairs with haplotype sharing (Bembidion atrocaeruleum/Bembidion varicolor and Bembidion guttula/Bembidion mannerheimii). In contrast to this, deep intraspecific sequence divergences with distinct lineages were revealed for two species (Bembidion geniculatum/Ocys harpaloides). Our study emphasizes the use of DNA barcodes for the identification of the analyzed ground beetles species and represents an important step in building-up a comprehensive barcode library for the Carabidae in Germany and Central Europe as well.
Keywords: Asaphidion; Central Europe; German Barcode of Life; Ocys; Sinechostictus; cytochrome c oxidase subunit I; mitochondrial DNA; molecular specimen identification.