Phylogenetic relationships within the aplocheiloid fish genus Rivulus (Cyprinodontiformes, Rivulidae): implications for Caribbean and Central American biogeography. Academic Article uri icon


  • We examined the phylogenetic relationships of 16 northern species of the aplocheiloid genus Rivulus inhabiting the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. A total of 714 base pairs per taxon were sequenced from two segments of the mitochondrial genome, 12S rRNA and cytochrome b. Both parsimony and neighbor-joining analyses suggest an ancient vicariant origin of the Greater Antillean taxa, in addition to a quite recent dispersal of species into the Lesser Antilles from the South American mainland. Combined analyses support the monophyly of the northern South American assemblage as the sister group of a Central American/Columbian biota. However, the monophyly of the Central American biota remains uncertain. Divergence estimates for the Central American taxa are calibrated from the Last Cretaceous separation of the proto-Antilles from the Americas. These data suggest that the extant Central American taxa represent the descendants of at least two separate invasions during the Cenozoic, prior to the closing of the Panamanian isthmus. Times are consistent with the extensive evidence for reptilian and mammalian exchange throughout the Cenozoic.

author list (cited authors)

  • Murphy, W. J., & Collier, G. E.

citation count

  • 64

complete list of authors

  • Murphy, WJ||Collier, GE

publication date

  • May 1996