Indexed on: 07 Dec '07Published on: 07 Dec '07Published in: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
We have conducted the first comprehensive molecular phylogeny of the tribe Cichlasomatini including all valid genera as well as important species of questionable generic status. To recover the relationships among cichlasomatine genera and to test their monophyly we analyzed sequences from two mitochondrial (16S rRNA, cytochrome b) and one nuclear marker (first intron of S7 ribosomal gene) totalling 2236 bp. Our data suggest that all genera except Aequidens are monophyletic, but we found important disagreements between the traditional morphological relationships and the phylogeny based on our molecular data. Our analyses support the following conclusions: (a) Aequidens sensu stricto is paraphyletic, including also Cichlasoma (CA clade); (b) Krobia is not closely related to Bujurquina and includes also the Guyanan Aequidens species A. potaroensis and probably A. paloemeuensis (KA clade). (c) Bujurquina and Tahuantinsuyoa are sister groups, closely related to an undescribed genus formed by the 'Aequidens'pulcher-'Aequidens'rivulatus groups (BTA clade). (d) Nannacara (plus Ivanacara) and Cleithracara are found as sister groups (NIC clade). Acaronia is most probably the sister group of the BTA clade, and Laetacara may be the sister group of this clade. Estimation of divergence times suggests that the divergence of Cichlasomatini started around 44Mya with the vicariance between coastal rivers of the Guyanas (KA and NIC clades) and remaining cis-andean South America, followed by evolution of the Acaronia-Laetacara-BTA clade in Western Amazon, and the CA clade in the Eastern Amazon. Vicariant divergence has played importantly in evolution of cichlasomatine genera, with dispersal limited to later range extension of species within genera.