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Free Content Phylogeny and evolution of the gobiid genus Coryphopterus

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We use morphological and molecular data to resolve the relationships among species of the gobiid genus Coryphopterus, and between Coryphopterus and putative sister taxa Lophogobius and Fusigobius. Characters of the external morphology and the mitochondrial ND2 gene were combined in a total evidence cladistic analysis. The single most parsimonious topology that resulted indicates that Coryphopterus is not monophyletic, and we advocate the removal of C. nicholsii from Coryphopterus and resurrection of the name Rhinogobiops nicholsii. Our phylogeny agrees in many respects with an earlier hypothesis advanced by Smith and Tyler (1977); interpretations of the evolution of morphology and ecology on the two topologies are compared. The phylogeny also indicates that Coryphopterus is not closely related to Fusigobius, and so the synonomy of Randall (1995) should not be used. Instead, Coryphopterus is more closely related to the transisthmian Lophogobius than to any Indo-Pacific species examined, a finding that provides insight into the biogeography of the group. An ancillary result of our study is the suggestion that Fusigobius is not monophyletic, however, a comprehensive revision and phylogenetic analysis of Fusigobius is beyond the scope of this paper.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2002

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