Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

Galaxias maculatus: An explanation of its biogeography

TM Berra, LELM Crowley, W Ivantsoff and PA Fuerst

Marine and Freshwater Research 47(6) 845 - 849
Published: 1996


Galaxias maculatus is a small diadromous fish found in Australia, New Zealand, South America and on some oceanic islands. Two hypotheses have been advanced to explain this widespread, disjunct distribution. McDowall promoted dispersal through the sea of salt-tolerant juveniles but Rosen and others claimed that the distribution reflected the break-up of Gondwana and subsequent drift of the southern continents. Allozyrne electrophoresis of muscle extracts of specimens of Galaxias maculatus from eastern and western Australia, New Zealand and Chile was used to test the hypothesis that populations of G. maculatus from the western Pacific and the eastern Pacific do not differ genetically. FST based on allele frequencies and genotypes was 0.14, suggesting only minor differentiation between eastern and western Pacific populations. Minor differentiation in allele frequency existed at some loci, but no fixation of alternative alleles has occurred. The populations examined appear to be part of the same gene pool, indicating that gene flow via dispersal through the sea occurs today. It is unlikely that South American and Australasian populations would be conspecific if they have exchanged no migrants since the break-up of Gondwana at the end of the Mesozoic.

© CSIRO 1996

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