Theory predicts that clades diversifying via sympatric speciation will exhibit high diversification rates. However, the expected rate of diversification in clades characterized by allopatric speciation is less clear. Previous studies have documented significantly higher speciation rates in freshwater fish clades diversifying via sympatric versus allopatric modes, leading to suggestions that the geographic pattern of speciation can be inferred solely from knowledge of the diversification rate. We tested this prediction using an example from darters, a clade of approximately 200 species of freshwater fishes endemic to eastern North America. A resolved phylogeny was generated using mitochondrial DNA gene sequences for logperches, a monophyletic group of darters composed of 10 recognized species. Divergence times among logperch species were estimated using a fossil calibrated molecular clock in centrarchid fishes, and diversification rates in logperches were estimated using several methods. Speciation events in logperches are recent, extending from 4.20 ± 1.06 million years ago (mya) to 0.42 ± 0.22 mya, with most speciation events occurring in the Pleistocene. Diversification rates are high in logperches, at some nodes exceeding rates reported for well-studied adaptive radiations such as Hawaiian silverswords. The geographic pattern of speciation in logperches was investigated by examining the relationship between degree of sympatry and the absolute age of the contrast, with the result that diversification in logperches appears allopatric. The very high diversification rate observed in the logperch phylogeny is more similar to freshwater fish clades thought to represent examples of sympatric speciation than to clades representing allopatric speciation. These results demonstrate that the geographic mode of speciation for a clade cannot be inferred from the diversification rate. The empirical observation of high diversification rates in logperches demonstrates that allopatric speciation can occur rapidly.
Vol. 58 • No. 12
Vol. 58 • No. 12