Molecular Phylogenetic Investigation of the Clingfishes (Teleostei: Gobiesocidae)
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Currently, there are roughly 170 species of clingfishes (family Gobiesocidae) divided between ten subfamilies in a “phenetic” classification scheme proposed over 60 years ago. Recently, an alternative classification scheme was proposed which included only two subfamilies. For this study, a large scale multi-locus investigation on the phylogenetic relationships of the Gobiesocidae was conducted using both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data to assess whether the two available classification schemes reflect the evolutionary relationships of the group. Phylogenetic hypotheses are obtained from Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood analyses of two mitochondrial (12S and COI; 1062 bp) and five nuclear genes (ENC1, GLYT, MYH6, SH3PX3, and ZIC1; 3785 bp) for 81 species of clingfishes. Four of the ten subfamilies (Aspasminae, Diademichthyinae, Diplocrepinae, and Gobiesocinae) and four genera (Aspasmichthys, Cochleoceps, Lepadichthys, and Lepadogaster) are obtained as not monophyletic. The resulting topologies also do not recover the two-subfamily classification scheme as useful for classifying clingfishes because subfamily Cheilobranchinae is obtained as a monophyletic group that is deeply embedded inside the second subfamily Gobiesocinae. The two available classification schemes and their included subfamilies are discussed in detail.
King, Cragen Danielle (2017). Molecular Phylogenetic Investigation of the Clingfishes (Teleostei: Gobiesocidae). Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from