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Data from: Disentangling the drivers of diversification in an imperiled group of freshwater fishes (Cyprinodontiformes: Goodeidae)

Cite this dataset

Foster, Kimberly L.; Piller, Kyle R. (2018). Data from: Disentangling the drivers of diversification in an imperiled group of freshwater fishes (Cyprinodontiformes: Goodeidae) [Dataset]. Dryad.


Background: One of the most perplexing questions in evolutionary biology is why some lineages diversify into many species, and others do not. In many cases, ecological opportunity has played an important role, leading to diversification along trophic or habitat-based axes. The Goodeidae (Teleostomi: Cyprinodontiformes) are a family of freshwater fishes with two subfamilies: Goodeinae (42 species, viviparous, heterogeneous habitats, Mesa Central of Mexico) and Empetrichthyinae (4 species, oviparous, homogeneous habitats, Great Basin of the United States). These discrepant sets of characteristics and their sister-group relationship make the goodeids amenable to a comparative study of diversification. We gathered lateral body images from more than 1,600 specimens of all extant species in the family. Geometric morphometric, and phylogenetic comparative analyses were used to address whether higher species diversity correlates with higher rates of morphological shape evolution and whether there are differences in functional/habitat modules between the two subfamilies. Results: This study recovered a higher rate of overall body shape evolution in the Goodeinae that is nearly double in magnitude compared to the Empetrichthyinae. A modularity test indicated that the Goodeinae displayed elevated rates of morphological evolution in comparison to the Empetrichthyinae when only trunk (locomotor) regions were compared between subfamilies. No significant differences in evolutionary shape rates were recovered when the trophic (head) regions were compared between subfamilies. Discussion: These results support the hypothesis that Mexican goodeids radiated via an ecological opportunity scenario into a wide-array of novel habitats in the island-like Mesa Central as evidenced by their high rate of shape evolution, relative to the Empetrichthyinae. This study quantitatively unraveled the drivers of evolution and eliminated trophic specialization as a driving force within the Goodeidae.

Usage notes


National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1354930


Great Basin United States