Phylogeographic structure of the Atlantic pupfish, Cyprinodon variegatus (Cyprinodontidae), along the eastern coast of North America: Evidence from mitochondrial nucleotide sequences


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Virginia Tech


Cyprinodon variegatus is a pupfish that inhabits the Atlantic coast of North America, nearly continuously, from Massachusetts to Belize. This research attempts to resolve the phlylogeography of C. variegatus by investigating the genetic sequence structure of the mitochondrial control region (D-loop, non-coding origin of replication) and cytochrome-b gene for evidence of northern and southern subspecies within the Atlantic Coast of the eastern United States. Additionally, it will be may be possible to determine if secondary hybrid zones developed as a result of the last retreat of ice from North America during the Pleistocene, about 17,000 years ago. A definitive monophyletic northern clade was found using parsimony, distance, and maximum likelihood phylogenetic methods to analyze the control region data. The cytochrome-b sequence data supported this monophyletic northern clade, although their utility for this analysis is marginal. Little evidence was found for the existence of a hybrid zone. More thorough sampling will be needed to make more accurate determinations regarding the existence of such a zone.



phylogeography, D-loop, Cyprinodon variegatus, pupfish, mtDNA