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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2005 Feb;34(2):257-72. Epub 2004 Nov 19.

Species-level phylogeography and evolutionary history of the hyperdiverse marine gastropod genus Conus.

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Naos Marine Laboratory, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 2072, Balboa, Ancon, Panama.


Phylogenetic and paleontological analyses are combined to reveal patterns of species origination and divergence and to define the significance of potential and actual barriers to dispersal in Conus, a species-rich genus of predatory gastropods distributed throughout the world's tropical oceans. Species-level phylogenetic hypotheses are based on nucleotide sequences from the nuclear calmodulin and mitochondrial 16S rRNA genes of 138 Conus species from the Indo-Pacific, eastern Pacific, and Atlantic Ocean regions. Results indicate that extant species descend from two major lineages that diverged at least 33 mya. Their geographic distributions suggest that one clade originated in the Indo-Pacific and the other in the eastern Pacific + western Atlantic. Impediments to dispersal between the western Atlantic and Indian Oceans and the central and eastern Pacific Ocean may have promoted this early separation of Indo-Pacific and eastern Pacific + western Atlantic lineages of Conus. However, because both clades contain both Indo-Pacific and eastern Pacific + western Atlantic species, migrations must have occurred between these regions; at least four migration events took place between regions at different times. In at least three cases, incursions between regions appear to have crossed the East Pacific Barrier. The paleontological record illustrates that distinct sets of Conus species inhabited the Indo-Pacific, eastern Pacific + western Atlantic, and eastern Atlantic + former Tethys Realm in the Tertiary, as is the case today. The ranges of <1% of fossil species (N=841) spanned more than one of these regions throughout the evolutionary history of this group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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