DELIMITING SPECIES USING MULTILOCUS DATA: DIAGNOSING CRYPTIC DIVERSITY IN THE SOUTHERN CAVEFISH, TYPHLICHTHYS SUBTERRANEUS (TELEOSTEI: AMBLYOPSIDAE)
Article first published online: 1 NOV 2011
© 2011 The Author(s). Evolution© 2011 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
Volume 66, Issue 3, pages 846–866, March 2012
How to Cite
Niemiller, M. L., Near, T. J. and Fitzpatrick, B. M. (2012), DELIMITING SPECIES USING MULTILOCUS DATA: DIAGNOSING CRYPTIC DIVERSITY IN THE SOUTHERN CAVEFISH, TYPHLICHTHYS SUBTERRANEUS (TELEOSTEI: AMBLYOPSIDAE). Evolution, 66: 846–866. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01480.x
- Issue published online: 1 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 1 NOV 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 11 OCT 2011 10:30AM EST
- Received June 17, 2011, Accepted September 25, 2011
- species tree;
A major challenge facing biodiversity conservation and management is that a significant portion of species diversity remains undiscovered or undescribed. This is particularly evident in subterranean animals in which species delimitation based on morphology is difficult because differentiation is often obscured by phenotypic convergence. Multilocus genetic data constitute a valuable source of information for species delimitation in such organisms, but until recently, few methods were available to objectively test species delimitation hypotheses using genetic data. Here, we use recently developed methods for discovering and testing species boundaries and relationships using a multilocus dataset in a widely distributed subterranean teleost fish, Typhlichthys subterraneus, endemic to Eastern North America. We provide evidence that species diversity in T. subterraneus is currently underestimated and that the picture of a single, widely distributed species is not supported. Rather, several morphologically cryptic lineages comprise the diversity in this clade, including support for the recognition of T. eigenmanni. The high number of cryptic species in Typhlichthys highlights the utility of multilocus genetic data in delimiting species, particularly in lineages that exhibit slight morphological disparity, such as subterranean organisms. However, results depend on sampling of individuals and loci; this issue needs further study.