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Genome-wide analysis resolves the radiation of New Zealand's freshwater Galaxias vulgaris complex and reveals a candidate species obscured by mitochondrial capture


Campbell, CSM and Dutoit, L and King, TM and Craw, D and Burridge, CP and Wallis, GP and Waters, JM, Genome-wide analysis resolves the radiation of New Zealand's freshwater Galaxias vulgaris complex and reveals a candidate species obscured by mitochondrial capture, Diversity and Distributions, 28, (10) pp. 2255-2267. ISSN 1472-4642 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2022. The Authors. Diversity and Distributions published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1111/ddi.13629



Freshwater fish radiations are often characterized by multiple closely related species in close proximity, which can lead to introgression and associated discordance of mitochondrial and nuclear characterizations of species diversity. As a case in point, single locus nuclear versus mitochondrial analyses of New Zealand's stream-resident Galaxias vulgaris complex have yielded conflicting phylogenies. Our goal is to use genome-wide divergence patterns among these fishes to evaluate the potential role of mitochondrial capture in obscuring species diversity, and to understand how ancient and anthropogenic drainage modification explain this diversity.


Freshwater ecosystems of New Zealand.


We generate and analyse a genome-wide dataset comprising 52,352 SNPs across 187 Galaxias specimens to resolve the phylogeny of this recent fish radiation. We conduct phylogenetic, PCA, STRUCTURE, and ABBA-BABA analyses to evaluate the evolutionary relationships of lineages in the context of natural and anthropogenic river drainage alterations.


In addition to the 11 previously recognized stream-resident lineages, genome-wide data reveal a twelfth candidate species (G.'Pomahaka'), apparently obscured by introgressive mitochondrial capture. We identify additional examples of mito-nuclear discordance and putative mitochondrial capture, likely mediated by geological and anthropogenic modification of drainage boundaries.

Main Conclusions

Our study highlights the need for genome-wide approaches for delimiting freshwater biodiversity. Genetic data also reveal the influence of drainage history on freshwater biodiversity, including the rapid divergence of recently fragmented fish populations, and the conservation genetic risks of anthropogenic translocations events.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Galaxias vulgaris,biodiversity, biogeography, conservation, cryptic species, fish, freshwater, genomic, hybridisation
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Biogeography and phylogeography
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Burridge, CP (Associate Professor Christopher Burridge)
ID Code:153651
Year Published:2022
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2022-09-29
Last Modified:2022-11-28
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

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