The Westward Journey of Neoclinus Tube Blennies
Fringehead blennies of the coastal fish genus Neoclinus include three species in
the warm temperate waters of the northeastern Pacific and eight species
in the warm temperature and subtropical waters of the western Pacific,
but no known representatives in the intervening boreal waters.
Phylogenetic relationships of these and related blenny species based on
six genetic markers support the monophyly of Neoclinus and the reciprocal
monophyly of the eastern and western Pacific lineages. Available
evidence indicates that the group originated in the eastern Pacific and
the ancestor of the western Pacific lineage crossed the north Pacific
during a relatively warm interval in the Oligocene. A variety of other
temperate coastal fish groups exhibit a similar trans-Pacific
distribution, but the hypothesized timing of divergence of the east and
west lineages varies widely.
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