Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 48, Issue 6, pp 703–711 | Cite as

Mitochondrial DNA Phylogeny of the Family Cichlidae: Monophyly and Fast Molecular Evolution of the Neotropical Assemblage

  • Izeni P.  Farias
  • Guillermo  Ortí
  • Iracilda  Sampaio
  • Horacio  Schneider
  • Axel  Meyer

Abstract.

A mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) phylogeny of cichlid fish is presented for the most taxonomically inclusive data set compiled to date (64 taxa). 16S rDNA data establish with confidence relationships among major lineages of cichlids, with a general pattern congruent with previous morphological studies and less inclusive molecular phylogenies based on nuclear genes. Cichlids from Madagascar and India are the most basal groups of the family Cichlidae and sister to African–Neotropical cichlids. The cichlid phylogeny suggests drift-vicariance events, consistent with the fragmentation of Gondwana, to explain current biogeographic distributions. Important phylogenetic findings include the placement of the controversial genus Heterochromis basal among African cichlids, the South American genus Retroculus as the most basal taxon of the Neotropical cichlid assemblage, and the close relationship of the Neotropical genera Cichla with Astronotus rather than with the crenicichlines. Based on a large number of South American genera, the Neotropical cichlids are defined as a monophyletic assemblage and shown to harbor significantly higher levels of genetic variation than their African counterparts. Relative rate tests suggest that Neotropical cichlids have experienced accelerated rates of molecular evolution. But these high evolutionary rates were significantly higher among geophagine cichlids.

Key words: Cichlid fish — Phylogeny — Mitochondrial DNA —Heterochromis— Systematics — DNA substitution rate 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Izeni P.  Farias
    • 1
  • Guillermo  Ortí
    • 2
  • Iracilda  Sampaio
    • 3
  • Horacio  Schneider
    • 3
  • Axel  Meyer
    • 4
  1. 1.Departamento de Biologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade do Amazonas, 69077-000, Estrada do Contorno 3000, Manaus, Amazonas, BrasilBR
  2. 2.School of Biological Sciences, 314 Manter Hall University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588-0118, USAUS
  3. 3.Departamento de Genética, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém, Pará, BrasilBR
  4. 4.Department of Biology, P.O. Box M617, University of Konstanz, D-78457 Konstanz, GermanyDE

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