Mitochondrial and nuclear introgression among closely related taxa can greatly complicate the process of determining their phylogenetic relationships. In the Central Highlands of North America, many fish taxa have undergone introgression; in this study, we demonstrate the existence of an unusual introgression event in the Etheostoma zonale species group. We used one mitochondrial and seven nuclear loci to determine the relationships of the taxa within the E. zonale group, and their degree of differentiation. We found evidence of multiple divergent populations within each species; much of the divergence within species has taken place during the Pleistocene. We also found evidence of a previously unknown cryptic species in the Upper Tennessee River which diverged from the remainder of the group during the Pliocene, and has undergone mitochondrial and nuclear introgression with E. zonale, in an apparent process of speciation reversal. We examined the effects that using varying types of recombination tests to eliminate the signal of recombination from nuclear loci would have on the phylogenetic placement of this introgressed lineage in our species tree analyses.
- Species trees