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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2004 Dec;33(3):745-63.

Molecular phylogeny of the fern genus Elaphoglossum (Elaphoglossaceae) based on chloroplast non-coding DNA sequences: contributions of species from the Indian Ocean area.

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  • 1Département Systématique et Evolution USM 602, Herbier National Plantes Vasculaires, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 16 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France.


We performed a phylogenetic analysis of the fern genus Elaphoglossum using two non-coding chloroplast spacers: trnL-trnF and rps4-trnS. The sampling includes 123 species, of which 80 have not been previously sequenced, and for the first time includes species from Africa and the Indian Ocean area. The results of this expanded study largely agree with an earlier molecular study based on a smaller group of neotropical species and with the morphology-based classification of Mickel and Atehortua. We found, however, that some infrageneric groups such as section Elaphoglossum are not monophyletic. Besides section Elaphoglossum pro parte, we recognize six sections: two new monospecific, unnamed sections, and the previously established sections Lepidoglossa, Squamipedia, Amygdalifolia, and "Subulate-scaled clade." We divide the subulate-scaled clade into subsection Setosa (hydathodes present) and Polytrichia (hydathodes absent), and section Elaphoglossum is divided into subsections Platyglossa and Pachyglossa, two groups that do not appear to be supported by any single morphological character. In general, however, the main clades are supported by morphology. Finally, we discuss the species of the Indian Ocean region and their affinities with the neotropical ones. Out of the 11 species pairs postulated by Moran and Smith on the basis of morphology, two are well supported (E. eximium-E. aubertii; E. piloselloides-E. spatulatum) and three are not supported (E. ciliatum-E. humbertii; E. muscosum-E. poolii; E. paleaceum-E. deckenii), and two remain unresolved (E. erinaceum-E. hybridum; E. glabellum-E. acrostichoides) because our molecular markers were not variable enough. Four species pairs could not be tested because specimens were lacking. Unsupported species pairs are best interpreted as morphological convergences. Two additional species pairs are proposed: E. cuspidatum-E. succisaefolium; E. doanense-E. hornei. Placement of the species from the Indian Ocean suggests that at least 13 long-distance dispersal events occurred between the Neotropics and the Indian Ocean-Africa.

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