, Volume 136, Issue 1, pp 69-77

Origin of the antitropical distribution pattern in marine mussels (Mytilus spp.): routes and timing of transequatorial migration

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Many marine species, including mussels in the Mytilus edulis species group (i.e. M. edulis L., M. galloprovincialis Lamarck, and M. trossulus Gould), have an antitropical distribution pattern, with closely related taxa occurring in high latitudes of the northern and southern hemispheres but being absent from the tropics. We tested four hypotheses to explain the timing and route of transequatorial migration by species with antitropical distributions. These hypotheses yield different predictions for the phylogenetic relationship of southern hemisphere taxa relative to their northern counter-parts. The three Mytilus species were used to test these hypotheses since they exhibit a typical antitropical distribution and representative taxa occur in both the Pacific and Atlantic. Two types of mtDNA lineages were found among populations of mussels collected from the southern hemisphere between 1988 and 1996; over 90% of the mtDNA lineages formed a distinct subclade which, on average, had 1.4% divergence from haplotypes found exclusively in northern Atlantic populations of M. galloprovincialis. These data indicate that southern hemisphere mussels arose from a migration event from the northern hemisphere during the Pleistocene via an Atlantic route. The remainder of the southern hemisphere lineages (<10%) were very closely related to mtDNA haplotypes found in both M. edulis and M. galloprovincialis in the northern hemisphere, suggesting a second, more recent migration to the southern hemisphere. There was no evidence that southern hemisphere mussels arose from Pacific populations of mussels.

Received: 8 December 1998 / Accepted: 8 November 1999