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Syst Biol. 2006 Jun;55(3):374-97.

Molecular phylogenetics and evolutionary diversification of labyrinth fishes (Perciformes: Anabantoidei).

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Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, UK.


Labyrinth fishes (Perciformes: Anabantoidei) are primary freshwater fishes with a disjunct African-Asian distribution that exhibit a wide variety of morphological and behavioral traits. These intrinsic features make them particularly well suited for studying patterns and processes of evolutionary diversification. We reconstructed the first molecular-based phylogenetic hypothesis of anabantoid intrarelationships using both mitochondrial and nuclear nucleotide sequence data to address anabantoid evolution. The mitochondrial data set included the complete cytochrome b, partial 12S rRNA, complete tRNA Val, and partial 16S rRNA genes (3332 bp) of 57 species representing all 19 anabantoid genera. The nuclear data set included the partial RAG1 gene (1494 bp) of 21 representative species. The phylogenetic analyses of a combined (mitochondrial+nuclear) data set recovered almost fully resolved trees at the intrafamily level with different methods of phylogenetic inference. Phylogenetic relationships at this taxonomic level were compared with previous morphology-based hypotheses. In particular, the enigmatic pike-head (Luciocephalus) was confidently placed within the "spiral egg" clade, thus resolving the long-standing controversy on its relative phylogenetic position. The molecular phylogeny was used to study the evolution of the different forms of parental care within the suborder. Our results suggest that the evolution of breeding behavior in anabantoids is highly correlated with phylogeny, and that brood care evolved three times independently from an ancestral free spawning condition without parental care. Ancestral character state reconstructions under maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood further indicated that both bubble nesting and mouthbrooding have evolved recurrently during anabantoid evolution. The new phylogenetic framework was also used to test alternative biogeographic hypotheses that account for the disjunct African-Asian distribution. Molecular divergence time estimates support either a drift vicariance linked to the breakup of Gondwana or Late Mesozoic Early Tertiary dispersal from Africa to Asia or vice versa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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