, Volume 145, Issue 1, pp 51–65 | Cite as

The biogeography of AustralianDaphnia: clues of an ancient (>70 m.y.) origin for the genus

  • John A. H. Benzie
Taxonomy & Systematics


The AustralianDaphnia (D. occidentalis, D. jollyi, D. lumholtzi, D. carinata, D. nivalis, andD. cephalata) include representatives from three distinct groups within the genus. The worldwide distribution of species within these three groups is consistent with a Gondwanan or pre-Gondwanan origin for each group. These data suggest an even more ancient origin for the genusDaphnia.

The finding thatD. cephalata must have been separated fromD. carinata since Gondwanan times is consistent with recent biochemical data on the phylogenetic relations of AustralianDaphnia, but contrasts with electrophoretic evidence of continuing hybridization between these two taxa. It is suggested that continued gene exchange between otherwise discrete species, or clonal complexes, ofDaphnia may be maintained for millions of years, partly as a result of the varying degrees of cyclical parthenogenesis, and partly as a result of the highly fragmented population structures, found in these taxa.


Daphnia Australia phylogenetics relations biogeography 


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© Dr W. Junk Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • John A. H. Benzie
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Population BiologyResearch School of Biological SciencesCanberraAustralia

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