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Phylogeography of a widespread Australian freshwater fish, western carp gudgeon (Eleotridae: Hypseleotris klunzingeri): cryptic species, hybrid zones and strong intra-specific divergences
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  • Peter J. Unmack,
  • Benjamin Cook,
  • Jerald Johnson,
  • Michael Hammer,
  • Mark Adams
Peter J. Unmack
University of Canberra
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Benjamin Cook
Griffith University Australian Rivers Institute
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Jerald Johnson
Brigham Young University
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Michael Hammer
Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
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Mark Adams
The University of Adelaide

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Despite belonging to the most abundant and widespread genus of freshwater fishes in the region, the carp gudgeons of eastern Australia (genus Hypseleotris) have proved taxonomically and ecologically problematic to science since the 19th century. Several molecular studies and a recent taxonomic revision have now shed light on the complex biology and evolutionary history that underlies this group. These studies have demonstrated that carp gudgeons include a sexual/unisexual complex (five sexual species plus an assortment of hemiclonal lineages), many members of which also co-occur with an independent sexual relative, the western carp gudgeon (H. klunzingeri). Here we fill yet another knowledge gap for this important group by presenting a detailed molecular phylogeographic assessment of the western carp gudgeon across its entire and extensive geographic range. We use a suite of nuclear genetic markers (SNPs and allozymes) plus a matrilineal genealogy (cytb) to demonstrate that H. klunzingeri s.l. also displays considerable taxonomic and phylogeographic complexity. All molecular datasets concur in recognizing the presence of multiple candidate species, two instances of historic between-species admixture, and the existence of a natural hybrid zone between two of the three candidate species found in the Murray Darling Basin. We also discuss the major phylogeographic patterns evident within each taxon. Together these analyses provide a robust molecular, taxonomic, and distributional framework to underpin future morphological and ecological investigations on this prominent member of regional freshwater ecosystems in eastern Australia.
09 Sep 2023Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
11 Sep 2023Assigned to Editor
11 Sep 2023Submission Checks Completed
11 Sep 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
17 Oct 2023Editorial Decision: Accept