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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2001 Sep;20(3):450-9.

Molecular phylogeny and evolution of the freshwater eel, genus Anguilla.

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  • 1Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Minamidai, Nakano, Tokyo, 164-8639, Japan.


A molecular phylogenetic analysis was conducted on all of the known catadromous eel species of the genus Anguilla to assess their relationships and evolutionary history. The analyses of a total of 1427 bp of the mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA and 1140 bp of the complete cytochrome b gene sequences suggested that the genus Anguilla was monophyletic in origin, with A. borneensis as the most basal species. Four clades/species groups that correspond to their geographical ranges were indicated, Indo-Atlantic (three species), Oceania (two species), tropical Pacific (two species), and Indo-Pacific (five species), with ambiguous positions for A. japonica and A. reinhardti. This grouping conflicts with that of a previous morphological study, since the broad undivided maxillary and short-fin type, which were thought to be phylogenetically important, were paraphyletic in the molecular analysis. However, the molecular phylogeny and the present geographic distribution of species suggested historical dispersion of the genus Anguilla according to the Tethys corridor hypothesis, which proposed that anguillid eels originated near present-day Indonesia and dispersed westward along paleo-circumglobal equatorial currents. The westward-moving strain entered the paleo-Atlantic through the Tethys Sea and was ancestral to present-day European and American species.

Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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