Molecular phylogenetic relationships and the evolution of the placenta in Poecilia (Micropoecilia) (Poeciliidae: Cyprinodontiformes)

Robert W. Meredith, Marcelo N. Pires, David N. Reznick, Mark S. Springer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Poeciliids are one of the most intensively studied groups within Cyprinodontiformes owing to their use as model organisms for experimental studies on natural and sexual selection, and comparative studies of life-history evolution. Life-history studies have demonstrated multiple origins of placentotrophy and superfetation in poeciliids, including the recent description of placentotrophy in three species of Poecilia (Micropoecilia): P. bifurca, P. branneri, and P. parae. Here, we use a concatenation of seven nuclear gene segments and two mitochondrial segments to examine relationships within Micropoecilia and between this subgenus and other subgenera in Poecilia (Mollienesia, Limia, Pamphorichthys, Acanthophacelus). The combined molecular data set (8668 bp) was analyzed with maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian methods. We also employed a relaxed molecular clock method to estimate divergence times within Poecilia. All phylogenetic analyses with the combined DNA data set supported the monophyly of Poecilia and recovered a basal split between Poecilia (Acanthophacelus) + Poecilia (Micropoecilia) and the other three subgenera. Within Micropoecilia, P. bifurca grouped with P. branneri, and these joined P. parae to the exclusion of P. picta. Ancestral reconstructions based on parsimony and Bayesian methods suggest that placentotrophy evolved once in Micropoecilia in the common ancestor of P. bifurca, P. branneri, and P. parae. Divergence time estimates suggest that placentotrophy in Micropoecilia evolved in ≤4 million years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-639
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Acanthophacelus
  • Cyprinodontiformes
  • Micropoecilia
  • Placentotrophy
  • Poecilia
  • Poeciliidae


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular phylogenetic relationships and the evolution of the placenta in Poecilia (Micropoecilia) (Poeciliidae: Cyprinodontiformes)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this