The Dwarf crayfish or Cambarellinae, is a morphologically singular subfamily of decapod crustaceans that contains only one genus, Cambarellus. Its intriguing distribution, along the river basins of the Gulf Coast of United States (Gulf Group) and into Central México (Mexican Group), has until now lacked of satisfactory explanation. This study provides a comprehensive sampling of most of the extant species of Cambarellus and sheds light on its evolutionary history, systematics and biogeography. We tested the impact of Gulf Group versus Mexican Group geography on rates of cladogenesis using a maximum likelihood framework, testing different models of birth/extinction of lineages. We propose a comprehensive phylogenetic hypothesis for the subfamily based on mitochondrial and nuclear loci (3,833 bp) using Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood methods. The phylogenetic structure found two phylogenetic groups associated to the two main geographic components (Gulf Group and Mexican Group) and is partially consistent with the historical structure of river basins. The previous hypothesis, which divided the genus into three subgenera based on genitalia morphology was only partially supported (P = 0.047), resulting in a paraphyletic subgenus Pandicambarus. We found at least two cases in which phylogenetic structure failed to recover monophyly of recognized species while detecting several cases of cryptic diversity, corresponding to lineages not assigned to any described species. Cladogenetic patterns in the entire subfamily are better explained by an allopatric model of speciation. Diversification analyses showed similar cladogenesis patterns between both groups and did not significantly differ from the constant rate models. While cladogenesis in the Gulf Group is coincident in time with changes in the sea levels, in the Mexican Group, cladogenesis is congruent with the formation of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. Our results show how similar allopatric divergence in freshwater organisms can be promoted through diverse vicariant factors.
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Pedraza-Lara, C., Doadrio, I., Breinholt, J., & Crandall, K. A. (2012). Phylogeny and Evolutionary Patterns in the Dwarf Crayfish Subfamily (Decapoda: Cambarellinae). PLoS ONE, 7 (11). http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0048233