Phylogenetic systematics of leaffishes (Teleostei: Polycentridae, Nandidae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2015
Authors:R. A. Collins, Britz, R. , Ruber, L.
Journal:Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research
Date Published:06/2015
Type of Article:epub 25-Jun-2015 ahead of print
Keywords:ichthyology, molecular systematics, morphology, Percomorpha

The Asian (nandid) and Afro-Neotropical (polycentrid) leaffishes represent two superficially similar, but historically poorly diagnosed families – a situation resulting in a convoluted systematic history. Here, and including for the first time in a molecular study all leaffish genera, we generate a hypothesis of the phylogenetic history of both groups. We analyse a multilocus molecular data set encompassing 257 acanthomorph taxa, carry out a survey and assessment of selected osteological characters for the polycentrid leaffishes and also provide a reanalysis of previously published morphological data. Our results confirm: (1) that the Polycentridae and Nandidae are only remotely related, and hence, the classic leaffishes are diphyletic; (2) that the Polycentridae is monophyletic, with new skeletal synapomorphies being congruent with molecular data in placing the enigmatic Afronandus – a taxon that thus far has never been included in any molecular study – as sistergroup to the remaining genera; (3) the monophyly of the Nandidae + Badidae and their inclusion into a larger monophyletic group – along with the Pristolepididae, Anabantoidei and Channoidei – comprising the Labyrinthici sensu Rosen & Patterson. We also review the morphological and molecular evidence for both the conflicting placement of Pristolepis and the putative sistergroup relationship between the labyrinth fishes (Anabantoidei) and snakeheads (Channoidei).


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