Population level genetic divergence and phylogenetic placement of Mexican shortfin mollies (Mollienesia: Poecilia: Poeciliidae) Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract Mexico is a megadiverse region with a complex geological history, but it remains unclear to what extent the distribution of freshwater fish has been influenced by geographic barriers. This study examines the population level genetic divergence and phylogenetic relationships of species in the shortfin group of the subgenus Mollienesia (genus Poecilia), a group of live-bearing fishes that are widely distributed across Mexico, with sampling at a small geographic scale. Samples from over 50 locations were analyzed for six species by using phylogenetic and haplotype network approaches to assess genetic diversity across geographic ranges and to refine the distributions of species in this group. The results indicate that Mexican species have diversified following multiple, independent invasions from Middle America. Two species found north of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB) and one transversal species exhibited weak phylogenetic structure, likely due to the lack of physiographic barriers, recent colonization, and high dispersal rates among regions. In contrast, three species found south of the TMVB exhibited strong phylogenetic structure, reflecting a longer presence in the area and multiple physiographic barriers that isolated populations. This study identified mechanisms driving divergence and speciation, expanded the known range of several species, and resolved taxonomic uncertainties of populations.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 13.4

author list (cited authors)

  • Palacios, M., Gonzalez-Diaz, A. A., Rodriguez, L. A., Mateos, M., Rodiles-Hernandez, R., Tobler, M., & Voelker, G.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Palacios, Maura||Gonzalez-Diaz, Alfonso A||Rodriguez, Lenin Arias||Mateos, Mariana||Rodiles-Hernandez, Rocio||Tobler, Michael||Voelker, Gary

publication date

  • 2023