June 13, 2011
A phylogenetic analysis combining 63 morphological characters and DNA sequences (3296 bp), comprising segments of the mitochondrial genes 16S and ND2, and the nuclear gene 28S, for 19 taxa of the West African killifish tribe Callopanchacini and 11 out-group taxa, highly supported the monophyly of the tribe, and made it possible to provide the first unambiguous diagnoses for the included genera (Archiaphyosemion, Callopanchax, Nimbapanchax, and Scriptaphyosemion). The monophyly of the Callopanchacini is supported by six morphological synapomorphies: posterior portion of the mandibular channel consisting of a single open groove; basihyal pentagonal, as a result of a nearly rectangular basihyal cartilage and a triangular bony support; dorsal process of the urohyal usually absent, sometimes rudimentary; presence of a wide bony flap adjacent to the proximal portion of the fourth ceratobranchial; a broad bony flap adjacent to the proximal portion of the fifth ceratobranchial; and haemal prezygapophysis of the pre-ural vertebra 2 ventrally directed. The analysis indicates that the medially continuous rostral neuromast channel, commonly used to diagnose the tribe, is plesiomorphic. This study also indicates that, among African aplocheiloids, the annual life cycle style developed once in Callopanchax, and then again independently in the clade containing Fundulopanchax and Nothobranchius.
Lepidosirenidae is a clade of freshwater lungfishes that include the extant South American Lepidosiren paradoxa Fitzinger, 1837 and African species of the genus Protopterus. These genera have been geographically separated since the break-up of Gondwana in the Early Cretaceous, but they display similar biology and morphology. Species were distinguished by a combination of features such as head-to-body ratios, the number of pairs of ribs, and the presence of external gills, but no discrete skeletal characters were identified, and no comparative studies including all extant species have been published. I used computed tomography (CT), X-ray photography, and specimens from museum collections to describe the skeletal morphology of all species of lepidosirenid in a comparative context. I digitally disarticulated the bones in each specimen to compile a comparative atlas of the cranial and pectoral elements of all extant lungfishes, which has the potential to increase the correct identifications of specimens in museum collections. The morphology of the frontoparietal, parasphenoid, supraorbital, and suboperculum differ between species. I used those characters, along with molecular sequence data from the ribosomal RNA gene 16S, to run combined morphological and molecular phylogenetic analyses. Lepidosirenidae is monophyletic in all analyses, but the interrelationships of the species of Protopterus vary with the different sources of character data.
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