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Phylogeny of eriphioid crabs (Brachyura, Eriphioidea) inferred from molecular and morphological studies



The evolutionary relationships of the brachyuran crab superfamily Eriphioidea, commonly known as stone or rubble crabs, are examined. Analysis of three mitochondrial (12S, 16S and COI) and two nuclear loci (18S and Histone 3) was carried out for 51 taxa representing the Carpilioidea, Dairoidea, Eriphioidea, Goneplacoidea, Parthenopoidea, Pilumnoidea, Portunoidea, Pseudozioidea and Xanthoidea. Phylogenetic analyses of molecular data used three methods of inference that recovered similar topologies with minor differences. Maximum parsimony analysis of 20 morphological characters taken from first zoeas of 11 species yielded two equally parsimonious trees and generally supported the molecular analyses. None of the analyses recovered Eriphioidea as monophyletic, and each of the eriphioid families represented by two or more taxa was shown to be polyphyletic in both molecular and larval analyses. This study indicates that the present classification based on adult morphology is incongruent with phylogenetic relationships and that the diagnostic characters the result of convergence (particularly in feeding morphology) rather than shared ancestry.