Phylogenetic relationships for 14 of 35 currently recognized Dasyatis species (Dasyatis americana, Dasyatis brevis, Dasyatis centroura, Dasyatis geijskesi, Dasyatis guttata, Dasyatis kuhlii, Dasyatis lata, Dasyatis longus, Dasyatis margaritella, Dasyatis pastinaca, Dasyatis sabina, Dasyatis say, Dasyatis violacea, and Dasyatis zugei), Pastinachus sephen (sometimes referred to as Dasyatis sephen), one Indo-West Pacific Himantura (Himantura gerrardi), and four outgroups (Gymnura micrura, Urobatis jamaicensis, Taeniura lymma, and amphi-American Himantura schmardae) were elucidated using parsimony analysis of 32 morphological characters. One most-parsimonious tree of 116 steps (CI = 0.345, HI = 0.655, RI = 0.64) was found. The analysis refutes monophyletic Dasyatis and Himantura and reveals Dasyatis kuhlii, D. violacea, and P. sephen to be basal among other ingroup species, with D. kuhlii as the most basal species. The genus Himantura is paraphyletic, with amphi-American H. schmardae as sister to a clade containing all species except Urobatis jamaicensis. Himantura gerrardi is nested well within Dasyatis as sister to D. margaritella and forms a clade with G. micrura and Dasyatis zugei. Sister species Dasyatis geijskesi and D. guttata form a clade with D. zugei, G. micrura, D. margaritella, and H. gerrardi. This clade is sister to a group containing sister pairs of D. centroura/D. lata and D. longus/D. americana. Dasyatis brevis and D. say are sister species. Neotropical Dasyatis are polyphyletic.
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Vol. 2001 • No. 3