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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2004 Nov;33(2):259-79.

Rapid radiation and cryptic speciation in squat lobsters of the genus Munida (Crustacea, Decapoda) and related genera in the South West Pacific: molecular and morphological evidence.

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  • 1Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC), José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain.


Squat lobsters (genus Munida and related genera) are among the most diverse taxa of western Pacific crustaceans, though several features of their biology and phylogenetic relationships are unknown. This paper reports an extensive phylogenetic analysis based on mitochondrial DNA sequences (cytochrome c oxidase subunit I and 16S rRNA) and the morphology of 72 species of 12 genera of western Pacific squat lobsters. Our phylogenetic reconstruction using molecular data supports the recent taxonomic splitting of the genus Munida into several genera. Excluding one species (M. callista), the monophyly of the genus Munida was supported by Bayesian analysis of the molecular data. Three moderately diverse genera (Onconida, Paramunida, and Raymunida) also appeared monophyletic, both according to morphological and molecular data, always with high support. However, other genera (Crosnierita and Agononida) seem to be para- or polyphyletic. Three new cryptic species were identified in the course of this study. It would appear that the evolution of this group was marked by rapid speciation and stasis, or certain constraints, in its morphological evolution.

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