Phylogenomics and species delimitation of the economically important Black Basses ( Micropterus )


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Informed management and conservation efforts are vital to sustainable recreational fishing and biodiversity conservation. Because the taxonomic rank of species is important 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 world's most invasive species. Despite their popularity, previous studies to delimit species and lineages in Micropterus suffer from insufficient geographic coverage and uninformative molecular markers. Our phylogenomic analyses of ddRAD data result in the delimitation of 19 species of Micropterus , which includes 14 described species, the undescribed but well-known Altamaha, Bartram’s, and Choctaw basses, and two additional undescribed species currently classified as Smallmouth Bass ( M. dolomieu ). We 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. The new understanding of diversity, distribution, and systematics of Black Basses will serve as important basis for the management and conservation of this charismatic and economically important clade of fishes.
Ichthyology,Phylogenetics,Population genetics,Speciation,Taxonomy,Science,Humanities and Social Sciences,multidisciplinary
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