Phylogenetic relationships of the Sparidae (Teleostei: Percoidei) and implications for convergent trophic evolution
A phylogenetic analysis of the majority of sparid genera and representatives of the sparoid families Centracanthidae, Lethrinidae and Nemipteridae is presented using 87 predominately osteological characters. The Sparidae constitute a monophyletic grouping, with the inclusion of the centracanthid Spicara smaris, which nests deep within the ingroup. The phylogeny was then used to investigate agreement with the most recent molecular study, taxonomic stability of subfamilial classification and the evolution of feeding strategies. Results show that the incongruence between morphological and molecular data appears largely to be an artifact of errors in rooting. However, there appears to be real and substantial conflict between the molecular tree and the morphological data, which is not attributable to the different positions of the least congruent taxa. The data support the molecular hypothesis that none of the subfamilial classification, based on dentition and trophic specialization, is monophyletic, and should be rejected pending further taxonomic revision. The phylogeny supports multiple independent origins of trophic types and it is suggested that the evolutionary plasticity of the oral teeth of sparids has been fundamental to the adaptive radiation of this family compared to their closest allies. ©2002 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2002, 76, 269–301.