Mitochondrial DNA Phylogeny of West African Aplocheiloid Killifishes (Cyprinodontiformes, Aplocheilidae) Academic Article uri icon


  • African killifishes (Cyprinodontiformes, Aplocheilidae) historically associated with the genus Aphyosemion occur in two geographically distinct regions. One assemblage from far West Africa has been previously shown to be monophyletic and not closely related to the remaining eastern species of Aphyosemion (W. J. Murphy and G. E. Collier, 1997, Mol. Biol. Evol. 14, 790-799). This is supported by further analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences from 19 species from 21 different localities, representing 19 of the putative 22 species of this western group. Phylogenetic analyses of these data corroborate the monophyly and sister-group relationship of two distinct groups of taxa: Callopanchax and Scriptaphyosemion. Many of the relationships within Scriptaphyosemion suggest that these taxa may have radiated within a short period of time relative to the rate of substitutions within these sequences. A third, and possibly paraphyletic group of species, Archiaphyosemion, is suggested to be the sister taxon to the first two groups. These three groups are elevated to generic rank and together represent the sister group to the genus Epiplatys. Biogeographic inference suggests that the ancestors of this group diversified westward through upland habitat and have only relatively recently entered the lowland habitats in which Scriptaphyosemion and Callopanchax have diversified, with the latter genus reacquiring a suite of traits collectively referred to as annualism.

author list (cited authors)

  • Murphy, W. J., Nguyen, T., Taylor, E. B., & Collier, G. E.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Murphy, WJ||Nguyen, TN||Taylor, EB||Collier, GE

publication date

  • April 1999