Evol Ecol Res 11: 109-123 (2009)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Mitochondrial DNA reveals monophyly of New Zealand’s Gobiomorphus (Teleostei: Eleotridae) amongst a morphological complex

Mark I. Stevens1,2 and Brendan J. Hicks1

1Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology Research, Department of Biological Sciences, School of Science and Engineering, The University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand and  2South Australian Museum, Adelaide, SA 5000 and School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia

Correspondence: M.I. Stevens, South Australian Museum, Adelaide, SA 5000 and School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia.
e-mail: stevens.mark@saugov.sa.gov.au


Goal: To examine the phylogenetic relationships within Gobiomorphus to explore Australasian biogeography, origins (single or multiple), and evolutionary loss of a marine life stage (loss of diadromy).

Methods: We analyse a fragment of the mitochondrial DNA (Cyt-b) using phylogenetic analyses, and use several meristics (spines, rays, and vertebrae) in a discriminant function analysis.

Organisms: All nine species of the genus Gobiomorphus (Eleotridae) found in New Zealand and Australia, with the two Australian Philypnodon species included as outgroup taxa.

Conclusions: Monophyly of the genus and all seven New Zealand species was strongly supported. The New Zealand Gobiomorphus are likely to be the result of a single introduction and to have been isolated from Australia since the Miocene or Pliocene (∼18–28 Myr ago). These dates correspond well to the oldest fossil in New Zealand dated at 16–20 Myr. Diadromy was consistently at the root of the New Zealand group, and non-diadromy and morphological diversification among these species appears to have occurred relatively recently, with meristic comparisons supporting the molecular analyses. However, among the non-diadromous forms, species morphology contrasts with the molecular data suggesting a recent evolutionary history driven by ecological selection.

Keywords: amphidromy, Gobiomorphus, habitat fragmentation, island systems, mtDNA (Cyt-b), species radiation.

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