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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2005 Dec;37(3):751-61. Epub 2005 Jun 17.

Rapid radiation and cryptic speciation in mediterranean triplefin blennies (Pisces: Tripterygiidae) combining multiple genes.

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  • 1Centre d'Estudis Avançats de Blanes (CSIC), Carrer d' Accés a la Cala Sant Francesc 14, Blanes, 17300 Girona, Spain. pep@ceab.csic.es

Erratum in

  • Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2006 Jun;39(3):906.


The genus Tripterygion is the unique genus of the family Tripterygiidae in the Mediterranean Sea and in the northeastern Atlantic coast. Three species and four subspecies had been described: Tripterygion tripteronotus and Tripterygion melanurus (T. m. melanurus and T. m. minor) are endemic of the Mediterranean, and T. delaisi (T. d. delaisi and T. d. xanthosoma) is found in both areas. We used five different genes (12S, 16S, tRNA-val, COI, and 18S) to elucidate their taxonomy status and their phylogenetic relationships. We employed different phylogenetic reconstructions that yielded different tree topologies. This discrepancy may be caused by the speciation process making difficult the reconstruction of a highly supported tree. All pair comparisons between these three species showed the same genetic divergence indicating that the speciation process could have been resolved by a rapid radiation event after the Messinian Salinity Crisis (5.2Mya) leading to a trichotomy. Our molecular data revealed two clearly supported clades within T. tripteronotus, whose divergence largely exceeded that found between other fish species, consequently these two groups should be considered two cryptic species diverging 2.75-3.32Mya along the Pliocene glaciations. On the contrary, none of the genes studied supported the existence of two subspecies of T. melanurus. Finally, the two subspecies of T. delaisi were validated and probably originated during the Quaternary climatic fluctuations (1.10-1.23Mya), however their distribution ranges should be redefined.

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