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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2013 Dec;69(3):664-73. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2013.07.011. Epub 2013 Jul 19.

Are flatfishes (Pleuronectiformes) monophyletic?

Author information

1
Department of Biology and Wildlife, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA. Electronic address: macampbell2@alaska.edu.

Abstract

All extant species of flatfish (order Pleuronectiformes) are thought to descend from a common ancestor, and therefore to represent a monophyletic group. This hypothesis is based largely on the dramatic bilateral asymmetry and associated ocular migration characteristics of all flatfish. Yet, molecular-based phylogenetic studies have been inconclusive on this premise. Support for flatfish monophyly has varied with differences in taxonomic and gene region sampling schemes. Notably, the genus Psettodes has been found to be more related to non-flatfishes than to other flatfishes in many recent studies. The polyphyletic nature of the Pleuronectiformes is often inferred to be the result of weak historical signal and/or artifact of phylogenetic inference due to a bias in the data. In this study, we address the question of pleuronectiform monophyly with a broad set of markers (from six phylogenetically informative nuclear loci) and inference methods designed to limit the influence of phylogenetic artifacts. Concomitant with a character-rich analytical strategy, an extensive taxonomic sampling of flatfish and potential close relatives is used to increase power and resolution. Results of our analyses are most consistent with a non-monophyletic Pleuronectiformes with Psettodes always being excluded. A fossil-calibrated Bayesian relaxed clock analysis estimates the age of Pleuronectoidei to be 73 Ma, and the time to most recent common ancestor of Pleuronectoidei, Psettodes, and other relative taxa to be 77 Ma. The ages are much older than the records of any fossil pleuronectiform currently recognized. We discuss our findings in the context of the available morphological evidence and discuss the compatibility of our molecular hypothesis with morphological data regarding extinct and extant flatfish forms.

KEYWORDS:

Acanthomorpha; Base composition heterogeneity; Model of evolution; Non-stationary evolution; Phylogeny; Pleuronectiformes

PMID:
23876291
PMCID:
PMC4458374
DOI:
10.1016/j.ympev.2013.07.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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