Phylogenomics and species delimitation of the economically important Black Basses (Micropterus)
Kim, Daemin; Taylor, Andrew; Near, Thomas (2022), Phylogenomics and species delimitation of the economically important Black Basses (Micropterus), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ksn02v75w
Informed management and conservation efforts are vital to sustainable recreational fishing and biodiversity conservation. Because the taxonomic rank of species is typically targeted in conservation and management strategies, success of these efforts depends on accurate species delimitation. The Black Basses (Micropterus) are an iconic lineage of freshwater fishes that include some of the world’s most popular species for recreational fishing and rank among the world's most invasive vertebrate species. Despite their popularity, previous studies to delimit species and lineages in Micropterus suffer from insufficient geographic coverage and uninformative molecular markers. Phylogenomic analyses of ddRAD data result in the delimitation of 19 species in Micropterus, which includes 14 described species, the undescribed but fairly well-known Altamaha Bass, Bartram’s Bass, and Choctaw Bass, and two additional undescribed species currently classified as Smallmouth Bass (M. dolomieu). We also provide a revised delimitation of species in the Largemouth Bass complex that necessitates a change in scientific nomenclature: Micropterus salmoides is retained for the Florida Bass and Micropterus nigricans is elevated from synonymy for the Largemouth Bass. Our findings provide a resolved phylogeny of all Micropterus species, insight into the role of introgression in the history of Micropterus diversification, and a robust delimitation of species that differs from current taxonomic classifications and the list of North American fishes maintained by the American Fisheries Society. The new understanding of diversity, distribution, and systematics of Blass Basses will serve as an important basis for the management and conservation of this charismatic and economically important clade of fishes.