We identify the sister species of the world's only freshwater sardinella, Sardinella tawilis (Herre, 1927) of Taal Lake, Philippines as the morphologically-similar marine Taiwanese sardinella Sardinella hualiensis (Chu and Tsai, 1958). Evidence of incomplete lineage sorting
and a species tree derived from three mitochondrial genes and one nuclear gene indicate that S. tawilis diverged from S. hualiensis in the late Pleistocene. Neutrality tests, mismatch distribution analysis, sequence diversity indices, and species tree analysis indicate populations
of both species have long been stable and that the divergence between these two lineages occurred prior to the putative 18th century formation of Taal Lake.
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