Molecular phylogeny of thorny catfishes (Siluriformes: Doradidae)

Mariangeles Arce H., Roberto E. Reis, Anthony J. Geneva, Mark H. Sabaj Pérez

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27 Scopus citations


Doradidae is a monophyletic catfish family endemic to continental South America, and composed of 93 valid species here placed in 31 genera. Existing phylogenetic hypotheses for Doradidae are derived from comprehensive analyses of morphological data, and a single molecular-based study on a limited subset of taxa. To provide a robust molecular phylogeny commensurate with those based on morphology, we gathered original and published sequence data for 86 species-level taxa (at least 70 valid species plus 16 new or questionably nominal species) and all genera of Doradidae, as well as 10 species (nine genera) of Auchenipteridae and three species and genera of Aspredinidae as outgroups. 3011 base pairs were aligned for two mitochondrial genes (cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1, and 16S ribosomal RNA) and one nuclear gene (recombination activating gene 1), and analyzed for a total of 143 specimens (130 doradids, 10 auchenipterids and three aspredinids). Tree topologies generated by Maximum Parsimony, Maximum Likelihood, and Bayesian analyses were largely congruent, and are compared to existing phylogenies based on morphology and molecules. Although many of the relationships supported by our molecular analyses corroborated those based on morphology, others are newly hypothesized or remain in conflict. The monotypic Wertheimeria, Franciscodoras and Kalyptodoras, for example, form a newly proposed clade, and the subfamily Astrodoradinae is placed at the base of the doradid tree. The monotypic Doraops and Centrochir, endemic to Caribbean drainages north and west of the Andes, are sister to Pterodoras and Platydoras, respectively, two genera that are widely distributed in Atlantic drainages. Additional biogeographic implications are discussed for hypothesized relationships among doradids. Molecular evidence strongly supports synonymization of monotypic Merodoras with Amblydoras, and transfer of Amblydoras bolivarensis to genus Scorpiodoras. Furthermore, we consider Opsodoras ternetzi to be more properly placed in the genus Nemadoras. The genus Opsodoras may warrant synonymization with Hemidoras, and the monophyly of genus Ossancora is not supported; however, we refrain from taxonomic decisions regarding those taxa until a broader spectrum of doradids can be submitted to further morphological and molecular phylogenetic analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-577
Number of pages18
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology


  • 16S
  • Biogeography
  • CO1
  • Neotropical fishes
  • Rag1
  • Systematics


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