Systematics of the grey mullets (Teleostei : Mugiliformes : Mugilidae): molecular phylogenetic evidence challenges two centuries of morphology-based taxonomy

Abstract : The family Mugilidae comprises mainly coastal marine species that are widely distributed in all tropical, subtropical and temperate seas. Mugilidae species are generally considered to be ecologically important and they are a major food resource for human populations in certain parts of the world. The taxonomy and systematics of the Mugilidae are still much debated and based primarily on morphological characters. In this study we provide the first comprehensive molecular systematic account of the Mugilidae using phylogenetic analyses of nucleotide sequence variation at three mitochondrial loci (16S rRNA, cytochrome oxidase I, and cytochrome b) for 257 individuals from 55 currently recognized species. The study covers all 20 Mugilidae genera currently recognized as being valid. The family comprises 7 major lineages that radiated early on from the ancestor to all current forms. All genera that were represented by two species or more, except Cestraeus, turned out to be paraphyletic or polyphyletic. Thus, the present phylogenetic results generally disagree with the current taxonomy at the genus level and imply that the anatomical characters used for the systematics of the Mugilidae may be poorly informative phylogenetically. The present results should provide sound basis for a taxonomic revision of the Mugilidae genera. A proportion of the species with large distribution ranges (including Moolgarda seheli, Mugil cephalus and M. curema) appear to consist of cryptic species, thus warranting further taxonomic and genetic work at the infra-generic level.
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Jean-Dominique Durand, Kang-Ning Shen, Wei-Jen Chen, Brian W. Jamandre, Hager Blel, et al.. Systematics of the grey mullets (Teleostei : Mugiliformes : Mugilidae): molecular phylogenetic evidence challenges two centuries of morphology-based taxonomy. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Elsevier, 2012, 64, pp.73-92. ⟨ird-00695484⟩

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