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Biogeographic history of geminate cirrhitoids (Perciformes: Cirrhitoidea) with east–west allopatric distributions across southern Australia, based on molecular data

Authors

  • Christopher P. Burridge

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Zoology, University of Tasmania, GPO Box 252–05, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
      Christopher P. Burridge, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas 77843–2258, USA. E-mail:cburridge @wfscgate.tamu.edu
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Christopher P. Burridge, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas 77843–2258, USA. E-mail:cburridge @wfscgate.tamu.edu

Abstract

The biogeographic history of three cirrhitoid species pairs with east–west allopatric distributions across southern Australia was examined by determining levels of mitochondrial DNA sequence divergence and applying molecular clock calibrations. Similar levels of genetic divergence were observed for Aplodactylus Valenciennes and Goniistius Gill species pairs, but these were more than twice that observed for a Nemadactylus Richardson pair. Molecular clock calibrations suggested divergences occurred during the late Miocene and mid Pliocene, respectively. Given evidence of high dispersal capabilities, the habitat and climatic barriers of the Australian south coast appear too small to have facilitated speciation of the cirrhitoids examined. A mechanism is proposed by which ancestral cirrhitoids were vicariantly isolated into east and west coast populations during periods of climate change. Although Aplodactylus and Goniistius divergences occurred during the same period, separate vicariant events across the Australian north and south coasts are invoked.

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