Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 9–31

Biogeography of the chaetodontidae: an analysis of allopatry among closely related species

  • Stanley D. Blum

DOI: 10.1007/BF00002198

Cite this article as:
Blum, S.D. Environ Biol Fish (1989) 25: 9. doi:10.1007/BF00002198


A recent survey of chaetodontid osteology has produced a hypothesis of relationships among 22 osteologically distinct genera and subgenera. Fourteen supra-specific taxa have distributions that are Indo-Pacific or larger. Most sister taxa inferred by osteology are broadly sympatric. The basal dichotomy within the large genusChaetodon contrasts monophyletic groups centered in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific with little overlap. Divergence of Atlantic and Indo-Pacific distributions is correlated with the closing of the Tethys seaway 18–13 million years ago. Distributional data of Burgess (1978) and Allen (1980) are reevaluated in the context of putative species pairs and complexes. Species in nearly two thirds of these complexes (18 of 31) are distributed allopatrically. Eight complexes are examined in more detail. Five of these eight contain at least one peripherically isolated species. Distributions of species in four complexes indicate that previously wide-spread species were cleaved more symmetrically. Sympatric distributions within two species pairs indicate that the more narrowly distributed species in each pair arose through central isolation within a broadly distributed ancestor. The area of central isolation corresponds to the classical center of origin. A new hypothesis of vicariance followed by dispersal may partially explain the diversity gradient so prominently featured in dispersal-oriented tropical marine biogeography.

Key words

ButterflyfishesVicarianceCladisticsAllopatric speciationTethysIndo-Pacific

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley D. Blum
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Vertebrate PaleontologyAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkU.S.A.