Genetic divergence, speciation and biogeography of Mustelus (sharks) in the central Indo-Pacific and Australasia

Jessica J. Boomer*, Robert G. Harcourt, Malcolm P. Francis, Adam J. Stow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


The shark genus Mustelus is speciose, commercially important and systematically troublesome. We use a molecular approach combining inter and intra-specific data to investigate Mustelus species in the central Indo-Pacific and Australasia. Our analysis supports two Mustelus clades, one comprising species with no white spots and a placental reproductive mode and a second clade of white spotted, aplacental species. Levels of genetic divergence are low, especially among species in the white spotted, aplacental clade and this should be taken into account when employing molecular data to delineate species. Our data support the hypothesis of a radiation following dispersal from a northern hemisphere ancestor. Molecular dating suggests that localised speciation in Australasia may have occurred during the Pleistocene. We propose that some of the difficulties associated with Mustelus systematics relate to a recent radiation, particularly in the Australasian region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-703
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


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