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Multiple factors have shaped the phylogeography of Chinese spiny loach Cobitis sinensis in Taiwan as inferred from mitochondrial DNA variation

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Mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b sequences (1140 bp) in 61 specimens of Chinese spiny loach Cobitis sinensis from 12 drainages in Taiwan were identified as two major clades, exhibiting a southern and a northern distribution, north of TzengWen and south of TzengWen (including TzengWen), respectively. The divergence time between these two phylogroups was estimated at 7·34–9·06 million years before present (b.p.), but these two phylogroups were formed c. 3·41–4·23 and 2·22–2·75 Mb.p., respectively. Moreover, geological events have been recalculated that Taiwan Island emerged above sea level at an estimate of c. 4–5 Mb.p., and quickly became its present shape at c. 2 Mb.p.through mountain building. These results suggest that these two major clades of C. sinensis in Taiwan might originate from two different continental populations, since the island's initial isolation in the Pliocene. Within southern Taiwan, the initial colonization was hypothesized to be in KaoPing River, followed by its northward dispersal. The high divergence between KaoPing and TzengWen was influenced by glaciations and landforms. Within north Taiwan, the colonization was from the Miaoli Plateau through western Taiwan to north-eastern and northern Taiwan. This dispersal pattern is concordant with the previously proposed hypothesis. Apparently, both geological and phylogeographic evidence suggested that river capture of the upper Takia River by the LanYang River promoted range expansion in freshwater fishes and also indicated that the Central Range within Taiwan did not act as a barrier to the dispersal of C. sinensis.

Keywords: Cobitis sinensis; Taiwan; glacial event; phylogeography; river capture

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Department of Life Sciences, Cheng Kung University, Tainan 70101, Taiwan 2: Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan

Publication date: 2010-04-01

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