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Historical biogeography and speciation in the Creole wrasses (Labridae, Clepticus)


We tested whether vicariance or dispersal was the likely source of speciation in the genus Clepticus by evaluating the evolutionary timing of the effect of the mid-Atlantic barrier, which separates C. brasiliensis and C. africanus, and the Amazon barrier, which separates C. parrae and C brasiliensis. Genetic data from three mitochondrial genes and one nuclear gene were used. Mitochondrial genes separated Clepticus into three well supported clades corresponding to the three recognized allopatric morpho-species. All analyses provided consistent support for an initial separation (~9.68 to 1.86 mya; 4.84% sequence divergence) of the Caribbean and South Atlantic lineages, followed by a much more recent divergence (~ 0.60 to 0.12 mya; 0.3% sequence divergence) of the Brazilian and African sister morpho-species. Both these phylogenetic events occurred well after the formation of the two barriers that currently separate those three allopatric populations. The planktonic larval duration of these species (35–49 days) and coastal pelagic habits may have facilitated dispersal by this genus across those dispersal barriers after they formed.

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