The genus Casmaria H. Adams & A. Adams, 1853 (family Cassidae) is widespread in the tropical Indo-Pacific and has been documented from some Atlantic localities as well. Two Casmaria species, C. erinaceus (Linnaeus, 1758) and C. ponderosa (Gmelin, 1791), are common in Indo-Pacific shallow-water sandy bottom communities and are characterized by high morphological variability; both species encompass multiple, often sympatric forms of uncertain status. In the present study we carry out a phylogenetic analysis of some Philippine Casmaria morphs and demonstrate that one of the distinctive morphs earlier assigned to Casmaria ponderosa is in fact a different species, which we describe as Casmaria boblehmani sp. nov. The smooth form of Casmaria ponderosa, C. ponderosa ponderosa, and the solid nodulose form, widely called “form nodulosa” despite being strikingly different in shell morphology, are shown to be conspecific. Studied specimens of these two morphs even from different localities share the same haplotype of the CO1 gene. In light of these new data on the morphological variability of Casmaria species, we discuss criteria of species delimitation in the genus Casmaria and possible affinities of Casmaria boblehmani sp. nov. within the genus.
Polymorphic species, CO1, Cassidae, Casmaria, Indo-Pacific.