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J Hered. 1998 Jan-Feb;89(1):8-16.

Patterns of mtDNA variation in Hawaiian freshwater fishes: the phylogeographic consequences of amphidromy.

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  • 1J. F. Bell Museum, University of Minnesota, St. Paul 55108, USA.


MtDNA sequencing was used to assess the phylogeographic structure of four species of Hawaiian freshwater fishes: Lentipes concolor, Stenogobius hawaiiensis, Sicyopterus stimpsoni, and Awaous guamensis. Samples of each species were collected from streams on the northeast side of Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Oahu, and Hawaii. We sequenced segments from both coding and noncoding regions (638-1391 bp) in each species. Sequence analysis uncovered genetic variability in these fishes but no evidence of strong geographic structure among island populations. This result is most readily explained by the fishes' larval marine life stage (amphidromy), which likely facilitates gene flow among island populations. By constraining genetic differentiation among populations, amphidromy may impede speciation in these fishes, possibly explaining why the Hawaiian freshwater fish fauna is depauperate compared to other species-rich Hawaiian faunas. It may also provide them with a kind of evolutionary flexibility atypical of other, more isolated island faunas and allow natural restocking to occur in streams that have been restored to suitable conditions. Comparisons of restriction site and sequence data suggested similar population genetic conclusions for all species except S. stimpsoni, for which the restriction site data is questioned.

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