Molecular systematic studies provide evidence for three new species of Bathymodiolus-like hydrothermal vent mussels (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) from relatively shallow waters (depth less than 750 m) associated with the Kermadec Arc off northern New Zealand. Mitochondrial COI sequences from the three putative new species differed substantially from those of other known bathymodiolin species from the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Population genetic analysis of one of these species (Bathymodiolus new species NZ-1) revealed heterogeneity in allozyme gene frequencies between samples collected from two seamounts about 50 km apart. Factors that might contribute to genetic differentiation between neighbouring seamounts are discussed.
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Acknowledgements We are grateful to Dr. Cornel de Ronde, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, for collection of the Macauley Cone specimens; Dr. Steve O’Shea, NIWA, for the RV and RIII May specimens; and the Ministry of Fisheries Observer Programme for the Cape Turnagain specimens. RIII November 2000 specimens were collected by one of us (PJS). Ashley Rowden, NIWA, is acknowledged for comments on the manuscript, as are three anonymous referees. This research was supported by grants from the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (contract number C01X0028), the US National Science Foundation (OCE9910799), and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.