Multiloci analyses suggest synonymy among Rhomboplites, Ocyurus and Lutjanus and reveal the phylogenetic position of Lutjanus alexandrei (Lutjanidae: Perciformes)

ABSTRACT Lutjanidae comprises 21 genera and 135 species widespread throughout Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. Nonetheless, the phylogenetic relationships of Lutjaninae remain uncertain. Furthermore, phylogenetic hypotheses for Lutjanus alexandrei, an endemic species from northeastern Brazilian coast, in Lutjanidae are absent so far. Therefore, we carried out multiloci analyses, combining both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences in Lutjaninae species from Western Atlantic focusing on the controversial relationships among Lutjanus, Rhomboplites, and Ocyurus. Besides, we determined the phylogenetic position and dated the origin of L. alexandrei. The phylogenetics trees based on the 4.4 kb for 11 species corroborated the synonym among Lutjanus and the putative monotypic genera. For the dating of L. alexandrei, another nucleotide dataset (3.0 kb; 40 species) validated the genetic identity of this species that diverged from the sister taxon L. apodus between 2.5 - 6.5 Mya, probably as a result of the barrier caused by the muddy outflow from Orinoco and Amazon rivers along the coastal zone. This report is the most robust multiloci analysis to confirm the synonymy of the three genera of Lutjaninae from Western Atlantic and the first reliable inference about the phylogenetic relationships and origin of L. alexandrei.