The genus Seriola includes several important commercially exploited species and has a disjunct distribution globally; yet phylogenetic relationships within this genus have not been thoroughly investigated. This study reports the first comprehensive molecular phylogeny for this genus based on mitochondrial (Cytb) and nuclear gene (RAG1 and Rhod) DNA sequence data for all extant Seriola species (nine species, n=27). All species were found to be monophyletic based on Maximum parsimony, Maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference. The closure of the Tethys Sea (12-20 MYA) coincides with the divergence of a clade containing ((S. fasciata and S. peruana), S. carpenteri) from the rest of the Seriola species, while the formation of the Isthmus of Panama (±3 MYA) played an important role in the divergence of S. fasciata and S. peruana. Furthermore, factors such as climate and water temperature fluctuations during the Pliocene played important roles during the divergence of the remaining Seriola species.
Keywords: Climatic oscillations; Divergence estimates; Phylogeny; Seriola; Vicariance.
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