Main content area

Out of the Sichuan Basin: Rapid species diversification of the freshwater crabs in Sinopotamon (Decapoda: Brachyura: Potamidae) endemic to China

Ji, Yongkun, Sun, Yufang, Gao, Wei, Chu, Kelin, Wang, Ruicong, Zhao, Qiang, Sun, Hongying
Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 2016 v.100 pp. 80-94
Bayesian theory, Decapoda, basins, benthic organisms, climate change, crabs, cytochrome-c oxidase, ecosystems, geographical distribution, histones, macroinvertebrates, males, mitochondria, mountains, phylogeny, ribosomal RNA, China
Sinopotamon Bott, 1967 is the most speciose and widely distributed freshwater crab genus in East Asia. Our extensive sampling includes about 76% of the known Sinopotamon taxa, and nearly covers its entire distribution area. Based on mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) and 16S rRNA, as well as nuclear 28S rRNA and histone H3, we reconstructed the Sinopotamon phylogeny using maximum likelihood and Bayesian approaches. The divergence time was estimated and multiple methods were used to conduct diversification analyses. The ancestral geographic distribution and character state were reconstructed. Three main clades (Clades I, II and III) that roughly correspond to their main geographic distribution ranges were recovered. Our results challenge the current view of the four major species groups based on the morphological differences in the male first gonopod (G1). The most recent common ancestor of Sinopotamon most likely originated from the Sichuan Basin and surrounding mountains (SBSM) and subsequently dispersed throughout central and eastern China. The exceptionally rapid, recent diversification was detected in Clade II. The high incidence of species-level non-monophyly found in Clade II can be explained by recent rapid radiation. Climatic changes, morphological innovations, range expansion and geographical heterogeneity may all contribute to the diversification in Sinopotamon. This study contributes to our knowledge on diversification of freshwater benthic macro-invertebrates in the East Asian inland ecosystem.