• Cottidae;
  • glacial relict;
  • mitochondrial DNA;
  • phylogeography


The relationships among Myoxocephalus quadricornis complex fish from Arctic coastal waters and from ‘glacial relict’ populations in Nearctic and Palearctic postglacial lakes were assessed using mtDNA sequence data (1978 bp). A principal phylogeographical split separated the North American continental deepwater sculpin (M. q. thompsonii) from a lineage of the Arctic marine and North European landlocked populations of the fourhorn sculpin (M. q. quadricornis). The North American continental invasion took place several glaciation cycles ago in the Early-to-Middle Pleistocene (0.9% sequence divergence); the divergence of the European and Arctic populations was somewhat later (0.5% divergence). The Nearctic-Palearctic freshwater vicariance in Myoxocephalus, however, appears clearly younger than in similarly distributed ‘glacial relict’ crustacean taxa; the phylogeographical structure is more similar to that in other northern Holarctic freshwater fish complexes.