Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 217–231 | Cite as

Molecular phylogeny of Mugilidae fishes revised

  • Sandra Heras
  • María Inés RoldánEmail author
  • Mariano González Castro
Research Paper


Systematics derived from morphological characters often does not correspond with the evolutionary processes underlying the divergence within a group of organisms. In the family Mugilidae (Teleostei) morphological similarities have resulted in inconsistencies between taxonomy and phylogeny among its species, and particularly for the genera Mugil, Liza and Chelon where both intrageneric and intergeneric phylogenetic clarifications are needed. To address these issues, the direct sequencing of the mitochondrial region that encodes Phenylalanine (69 bp), 12S rRNA (842 bp), cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (651 bp) and cytochrome b (702 bp) was carried out. The data reveal that Mugil platanus and Mugil liza represent a continuum of a single species, closely related to but distinct from Mugil cephalus which itself appears to comprise a grouping of multiple and closely related species. This species complex was genetically distinct from Mugil curema, which, based on three clearly diverged species identified in this study along the Atlantic coast of the Americas, requires extensive taxonomic revision throughout its world-wide distribution. Unlike the monophyly supported within Mugil, relationships within Liza are paraphyletic, and a taxonomic revision of the genera Liza, Chelon and Oedalechilus is needed.


Phe 12S rRNA Cytochrome b COI Mugilidae phylogeny Taxonomy 



This study was made possible through the generous contribution of mullets samples by Quim Pou, Jordi Viñas, William H Dailey, Alicia Acuña, Daniel Figueroa, Hicham Nouiri, Joao Paes Vieira, Darío Colautti and Marcelo Beiz. We would like to thank Fred Utter for helpful comments and corrections of the English style. Funding was provided to SHM by BRAE predoctoral fellowship and to MIR by 910305 grant from Universitat de Girona. MGC was supported by a Comisión de Investigaciones Científicas graduate fellowship and AL.E./2003 grant for his stay in Girona, Spain.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra Heras
    • 1
  • María Inés Roldán
    • 2
    Email author
  • Mariano González Castro
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratori d’Ictiologia Genètica, Facultat de CiènciesUniversitat de GironaGironaSpain
  2. 2.Laboratori d’Ictiologia Genètica, Facultat de CiènciesUniversitat de GironaGironaSpain
  3. 3.Laboratorio de Ictiología, Departamento de Ciencias MarinasUniversidad Nacional de Mar del PlataMar del PlataArgentina

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