Phylogeography and demographic history of two widespread Indo-Pacific mudskippers (Gobiidae: Periophthalmus)
This study provides a first description of the phylogeographic patterns and evolutionary history of two species of the mudskipper genus Periophthalmus. These amphibious gobies are distributed throughout the whole Indo-Pacific region and Atlantic coast of Africa, in peritidal habitats of soft-bottom coastal ecosystems. Three sequence datasets of two widely distributed species, Periophthalmus argentilineatus and P. kalolo, were obtained by amplifying and sequencing two mtDNA markers (D-loop and 16S rDNA) and the nDNA rag1 region. The three datasets were then used to perform phylogeographic, demographic and population genetic analyses. Our results indicate that tectonic events and past climatic oscillations strongly contributed to shape present genetic differentiation, phylogeographic and demographic patterns. We found support for the monophyly of P. kalolo, and only shallow genetic differentiation between East-African and Indo-Malayan populations of this species. However, our collections of the morphospecies P. argentilineatus include three molecularly distinct lineages, one of them more closely related to P. kalolo. The presence of Miocenic timings for the most recent common ancestors of some of these morphologically similar clades, suggests the presence of strong stabilising selection in mudskippers' habitats. At population level, demographic analyses and palaeoecological records of mangrove ecosystems suggest that Pleistocene bottlenecks and expansion plus secondary contact events of the studied species were associated with recurrent sea transgressions during interglacials, and sea regressions or stable regimes during glacials, respectively.