Alternate Title

Phylogenetic Relationships Among Four Western Atlantic Cynoscion Species Based on DNA Sequences From 11 Nuclear Introns, Two Mitochondrial Genes, and Genotypes From 32 Microsatellite Markers


Four species of Cynoscion occur in the waters off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of North America, where they are targeted by commercial and recreational fisheries. Previous studies have not resolved the phylogenetic relationships of the four species, largely due to uncertainty as to whether the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, or silver seatrout, Cynoscion nothus, is the most divergent member of the North American assemblage. This study used DNA sequences from the nuclear and mitochondrial genes and multilocus genotypes from microsatellite markers to infer relationships among these species. Together, these three techniques strongly suggest that the weakfish, Cynoscion regalis, and the sand seatrout, Cynoscion arenarius, are the most closely related species, and that C. nothus is the most divergent from all the others.