The phylogenetic relationships among the southern African freshwater crab species were examined using partial sequence data from three mitochondrial genes (12S rRNA, 16S rRNA, and mtDNA COI) 26 morphological characters and 14 allozyme loci. The aims of the present study were firstly to determine whether freshwater crab species that live in the same geographic region share a close phylogenetic relationship. Secondly, to investigate whether hybridizing species are genetically closely related and thirdly, to test for the validity of Bott's (1955) subgenera based on the genetic data sets. Phylogenetic analysis based on sequence data revealed largely congruent tree topologies and some associations had consistently high bootstrap support, and these data did not support Bott's subgeneric divisions. The morphological data were less informative for phylogenetic reconstruction while the allozyme data generally supported patterns recovered by the sequence data. A combined analysis of all the data recovered two monophyletic clades, one comprised of small-bodied mountain stream species and the other clade consisting of large-bodied riverine species. The combined analyses reflected clear biogeographic patterning for these river crabs. In addition, there was a clear correlation between genetic distance values and the ability of sympatric species to hybridize.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 2002
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