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Browsing Theses & Dissertations by Author "Acevedo Méndez, Geidy"
Acevedo Méndez, Geidy; Williams, Lucy B.; College of Arts and Sciences - Sciences; Williams, Ernest H.; Cafaro, Matías J.; Department of Biology; Morales, Betsy
Members of the genus Anilocra Leach 1818 are large external isopod parasites of a variety of coral reef associated fishes. In the Caribbean Sea, this genus is represented by nine species whose descriptions are based solely on their morphology. Their disjunct geographic distributions and host specificity suggests varying degrees of incipient speciation. This study used mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene sequences to elucidate phylogenetic relationships of five species of Anilocra from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian inference. The results show that the Caribbean Anilocra species form a monophyletic group and are not closely related to A. physodes, the type species of the genus. Parsimony and Bayesian inference analyses recovered three clades: clade A (A. chromis), clade B (A. holocentri), and clade C (A. acanthuri, A. chaetodonti, A. haemuli), while maximum likelihood analyses only recovered clade A and C. These analyses depict A. chromis as the basal species and A. chaetodontis as the most recently evolved species of the Caribbean Anilocra. Phylogenetic reconstructions show population structure based on host for A. haemuli and based on geographical location for A. chaetodontis, which suggest that each of these species might represent cryptic species with morphological stasis.