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Rapid radiation of the Mediterranean Luciobarbus species (Cyprinidae) after the Messinian salinity crisis of the Mediterranean Sea, inferred from mitochondrial phylogenetic analysis

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Phylogenetic relationships of 64 freshwater Barbus s.s. species distributed in basins around the Mediterranean Sea were assessed using cytochrome b sequences. Our results are in concordance with previous morphological and genetic studies, which proposed that these species belong to two major lineages (or subgenera): Barbus and Luciobarbus. We were particularly interested in phylogenetic relationships among species of the Luciobarbus lineage that are primarily found in the southern Mediterranean region from the Iberian Peninsula to the Middle East. In the Luciobarbus lineage, species that were previously attributed to the Capoeta genus were clustered. In this study, we observed short internodes between monophyletic groups having a geographical agreement around the Mediterranean. However, groups from the opposite sides of the Mediterranean Sea (Iberian Peninsula–Capoeta, north-western Africa–Middle East) seem to be phylogenetically close. We therefore infer that rapid radiation of Luciobarbus species in the Late Miocene better fits our data rather than gradual founder events in the southern Mediterranean. We propose that the biogeographical event along an east–west route, responsible for the present distribution of Luciobarbus species, was the ‘Lago Mare’ phase of the Mediterranean Sea that provided a rapid dispersal route over extensive distances. This provides new insights into the speciation pattern of this group, and may be of general use in the study of freshwater species in these regions. © 2003 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2003, 80, 207–222.

Keywords: Capoeta; biogeography; cytochrome b; polytomy; relative-rate test

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire Génome, Populations et Intéractions, CNRS–UMR 5000, c.c. 063, Université Montpellier II, Place E. Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 5, France 2: Department of Biology, Faculty of Art and Science, Dicle University, 21280 Diyarbakir, Turkey

Publication date: 2003-10-01

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