Investigating phylogenetic relationships of sunfishes and black basses (Actinopterygii: Centrarchidae) using DNA sequences from mitochondrial and nuclear genes


The 32 species of the Centrarchidae are ecologically important components of the diverse fish communities that characterize North American freshwater ecosystems. In spite of a rich history of systematic investigations of centrarchid fishes there is extensive conflict among previous hypotheses that may be due to restricted taxon or character sampling. We present the first phylogenetic analysis of the Centrarchidae that combines DNA sequence data from both the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes and includes all described species. Gene sequence data were collected from a complete mtDNA protein coding gene (NADH subunit 2), a nuclear DNA intron (S7 ribosomal protein intron 1), and a portion of a nuclear DNA protein-coding region (Tmo-4C4). Phylogenetic trees generated from analysis of the three-gene dataset were used to test alternative hypotheses of centrarchid relationships that were gathered from the literature. Four major centrarchid lineages are present in trees generated in maximum parsimony (MP) and Bayesian maximum likelihood analyses (BML). These lineages are Acantharchus pomotis, Micropterus, Lepomis, and a clade containing Ambloplites, Archoplites, Centrarchus, Enneacanthus, and Pomoxis. Phylogenetic trees resulting from MP and BML analyses are highly consistent but differ with regard to the placement of A. pomotis. Significant phylogenetic incongruence between mtDNA and nuclear genes appears to result from different placement of Micropterus treculi, and is not characteristic of relationships in all other parts of the centrarchid phylogeny. Slightly more than half of the 27 previously proposed hypotheses of centrarchid relationships were rejected based on the Shomodaira¬ĖHasegawa test.

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