Multiple molecular markers reinforce the systematic framework of unique Australian cave fishes (Milyeringa: Gobioidei)

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Australia was once thought to be a biodiversity desert when considering the subterranean world however, recent work has revealed a fascinating collection of cave creatures, many with surprising biogeographic histories. This has especially been so in the karstic regions of north-Western Australia (Cape Range peninsula, Barrow Island, Pilbara), which is home not only to a diverse collection of subterranean invertebrates, but also to the continent's only known underworld-adapted vertebrates, which includes the cave fish in the genus Milyeringa. These cave gudgeons have recently been in a state of taxonomic flux, with species being both split and lumped, but this was done with limited data (incomplete geographic sampling and no nuclear DNA sequence data). Therefore, we have revisited the systematic status of Milyeringa in a total-evidence molecular approach by integrating all existing data (mitochondrial, allozymes) with new DNA sequences from nuclear and mitochondrial loci and new multilocus allozyme data. Our conclusion, that there are two species, matches the most recent taxonomic treatment, with Milyeringa veritas present on both the eastern and western sides of the Cape Range peninsula, and Milyeringa justitia on Barrow Island. This has implications for future research in the linked fields of biogeography and conservation.




Page, T. J., Stevens, M. I., Adams, M., Foster, R., Velasco-Castrillón, A., & Humphreys, W. F. (2018). Multiple molecular markers reinforce the systematic framework of unique Australian cave fishes (Milyeringa: Gobioidei). Australian Journal of Zoology, 66(2), 115–127.

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