Phylogeny of the Neotropical genus Acestrorhynchus (Ostariophysi: Characiformes) based on nuclear and mitochondrial gene sequences and morphology: a total evidence approach.
ABSTRACT Acestrorhynchus is the sole genus of the family Acestrorhynchidae which includes 14 species currently recognized as valid. Species of Acestrorhynchus comprise small-to-medium sized piscivorous fishes and have been traditionally grouped on the basis of well-defined color patterns. A recent phylogeny, based on morphological characters, could not resolve the phylogenetic affinities of A. heterolepis and the relationships among the species of the clade formed by A. abbreviatus, A. altus, A. falcatus, A. lacustris, and A. pantaneiro. The simultaneous analysis of two mitochondrial genes (16S and ATP synthase subunits 6 and 8) and one nuclear intron (S7) was able to resolve the latter clade, but the position of A. heterolepis remained unresolved. The combination of the molecular and morphological data sets in a total evidence analysis resulted in a well-resolved hypothesis regarding the phylogenetic relationships of Acestrorhynchus species.
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ABSTRACT: The present paper is an argument in support of the continued importance of morphological systematics and a plea for improving molecular phylogenetic analyses by addressing explicit character transformations. We use here the inference of key innovations and adaptive radiations to demonstrate why morphological systematics is still relevant and necessary. After establishing that theories of phylogenetic relationship offer robust explanatory bases for discussing evolutionary diversification, the following topics are addressed: (1) the inference of key innovations grounded in phylogenetic analyses; (2) the epistemic distinction between character ‘mapping’ and relevant evidence in systematic and evolutionary studies; and (3) key innovations in molecular phylogenetics. We emphasize that the discovery of key innovations, in fossil or extant taxa, further strengthens the importance of morphology in systematic and evolutionary inferences, as they reveal scenarios of character transformation that have led to asymmetrical sister-group diversification. Our main conclusion is that understanding characters in and of themselves, when properly contextualized systematically, is what evolutionary biologists should be concerned with, whereas the analysis of tree topology alone, in which statistical nodal support measures are the sole indicators of phylogenetic affinity, does not lead to a fuller understanding of key innovations. KeywordsCharacter transformation series-Congruence test-Fossils-Homology-Molecular data-Phylogeny-Synapomorphy-TopologyEvolutionary Biology 01/2010; 37(4):247-254. · 2.39 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The crustacean family Parabathynellidae is an ancient and significant faunal component of subterranean ecosystems. Molecular data were generated in order to examine phylogenetic relationships amongst Australian genera and assess the species diversity of this group within Australia. We also used the resultant phylogenetic framework, in combination with an ancestral state reconstruction (ASR) analysis, to explore the evolution of two key morphological characters (number of segments of the first and second antennae), previously used to define genera, and assess the oligomerization principle (i.e. serial appendage reduction over time), which is commonly invoked in crustacean systematics. The ASR approach also allowed an assessment of whether there has been convergent evolution of appendage numbers during the evolution of Australian parabathynellids. Sequence data from the mtDNA COI and nDNA 18S rRNA genes were obtained from 32 parabathynellid species (100% of described genera and ~25% of described species) from key groundwater regions across Australia. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that species of each known genus, defined by traditional morphological methods, were monophyletic, suggesting that the commonly used generic characters are robust for defining distinct evolutionary lineages. Additionally, ancestral state reconstruction analysis provided evidence for multiple cases of convergent evolution for the two morphological characters evaluated, suggesting that caution needs to be shown when using these characters for elucidating phylogenetic relationships, particularly when there are few morphological characters available for reconstructing relationships. The ancestral state analysis contradicted the conventional view of parabathynellid evolution, which assumes that more simplified taxa (i.e. those with fewer-segmented appendages and setae) are derived and more complex taxa are primitive.Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 03/2012; 64(1):130-44. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The family Callichthyidae, divided into the subfamilies Corydoradinae and Callichthyinae, contains more than 200 species of armoured catfishes distributed throughout the Neotropics, as well as fossil species dating from the Palaeocene. Both subfamilies are very widely distributed throughout the continent, with some species ranges extending across multiple hypothesized biogeographical barriers. Species with such vast geographical ranges could be made up of multiple cryptic populations that are genetically distinct and have diverged over time. Although relationships among Callichthyinae genera have been thoroughly investigated, the historical biogeography of the Callichthyinae and the presence of species complexes have yet to be examined. Furthermore, there is a lack of fossil-calibrated molecular phylogenies providing a time frame for the evolution of the Callichthyinae. Here, we present a novel molecular data set for all Callichthyinae genera composed of partial sequences of mitochondrial and nuclear markers. These data were used to construct a fossil-calibrated tree for the Callichthyinae and to reconstruct patterns of spatiotemporal evolution. All phylogenetic analyses [Bayesian, maximum likelihood and maximum parsimony (MP)] resulted in a single fully resolved and well-supported hypothesis for the Callichthyinae, where Dianema is the sister group of all the remaining genera. Results suggest that the ancestry of most Callichthyinae genera originated in the Amazonas basin, with a number of subsequent ancestral dispersal events between adjacent basins. High divergences in sequences and time were observed for several samples of Hoplosternum littorale, Megalechis picta and Callichthys callichthys, suggesting that these species may contain cryptic diversity. The results highlight the need for a taxonomic revision of species complexes within the Callichthyinae, which may reveal more diversity within this relatively species-poor lineage.Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 01/2013; · 1.80 Impact Factor