Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 4, pp 679–687 | Cite as

Historical biogeography and speciation in the Creole wrasses (Labridae, Clepticus)

  • Ricardo Beldade
  • J. B. Heiser
  • D. R. Robertson
  • J. L. Gasparini
  • S. R. Floeter
  • G. Bernardi
Original Paper


We tested whether vicariance or dispersal was the likely source of speciation in the genus Clepticus by evaluating the evolutionary timing of the effect of the mid-Atlantic barrier, which separates C. brasiliensis and C. africanus, and the Amazon barrier, which separates C. parrae and C brasiliensis. Genetic data from three mitochondrial genes and one nuclear gene were used. Mitochondrial genes separated Clepticus into three well supported clades corresponding to the three recognized allopatric morpho-species. All analyses provided consistent support for an initial separation (~9.68 to 1.86 mya; 4.84% sequence divergence) of the Caribbean and South Atlantic lineages, followed by a much more recent divergence (~ 0.60 to 0.12 mya; 0.3% sequence divergence) of the Brazilian and African sister morpho-species. Both these phylogenetic events occurred well after the formation of the two barriers that currently separate those three allopatric populations. The planktonic larval duration of these species (35–49 days) and coastal pelagic habits may have facilitated dispersal by this genus across those dispersal barriers after they formed.


Reef Fish Molecular Clock Patch Reef Pelagic Larval Duration Brazilian Species 



We would like to thank Ken Clifton for collecting samples from San Blas, Panama, and Luiz Rocha and Suzanne Mills for reviewing the manuscript. R. Beldade was supported by a Foundation for Science and Technology grant (SFRH/BPD/26901/2006) and S.R. Floeter by a National Geographic Society grant (Grant #7937-05).

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2008

Open AccessThis is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ricardo Beldade
    • 1
  • J. B. Heiser
    • 2
  • D. R. Robertson
    • 3
  • J. L. Gasparini
    • 4
  • S. R. Floeter
    • 5
  • G. Bernardi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Stimson HallCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  3. 3.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstitutePanamaUSA
  4. 4.Departamento de Ecologia e Recursos NaturaisUniversidade Federal do Espírito SantoVitóriaBrazil
  5. 5.Departamento de Ecologia e ZoologiaUniversidade Federal de Santa CatarinaFlorianopolisBrazil

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