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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2001 Apr;19(1):121-30.

On the status of the Serranid fish genus Epinephelus: evidence for paraphyly based upon 16S rDNA sequence.

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Vantuna Research Group, Department of Biology, Occidental College, 1600 Campus Road, Los Angeles, California 90041, USA.


Historically, attempts to elucidate evolutionary relationships among members of the genus Epinephelus (Teleostei: Serranidae), commonly known as groupers, have been hindered by the overwhelming number of species (98, sensu stricto), a pan global distribution, and the lack of morphological specializations traditionally used in ichthyological classification. To date, no comprehensive phylogenetic study, morphological or molecular, to evaluate the monophyly of this genus has been presented. In this study, previous hypotheses regarding the relationships among the American grouper species and the allied genera were evaluated by examination of mitochondrial DNA sequences of the 16S ribosomal DNA region. A 590-bp region of the 16S rDNA gene was amplified using a universal primer pair for 42 serranid species, including members of the genera Epinephelus, Mycteroperca, and Paranthias from the New World and selected Indo-Pacific congeners. Maximum-parsimony criteria and neighbor-joining analysis dispute the monophyly of the American Epinephelus species as previously hypothesized. The data support the monophyly of Cephalopholis only with the inclusion of the morphologically distinct Paranthias and the monophyly of Mycteroperca with the inclusion of the Indo-Pacific Anyperodon leucogrammicus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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