American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, La Paz, Mexico, June 2000.

Phylogenetics of Australian rainbowfishes (Melanotaeniidae).

P.J. Unmack & T.E. Dowling

Rainbowfishes (Melanotaeniidae) are restricted to freshwater habitats in Australia and New Guinea and consist of ~53 species and 7 genera. Many have ranges restricted to a single lake or drainage system, while a few species are widespread. The present study focuses on Australian members of the genus Melanotaenia using cytochrome b (mtDNA) and allozymes. Two major clades were found, here termed "splendida" and "fluviatilis." Both clades occupy most of Australia except cooler southern regions. The splendida clade occurs predominantly in central northern and eastern Australia and splits the fluviatilis clade into three disjunct regions: south-eastern, north-eastern, and western Australia. These results will be contrasted with present hypotheses on the biogeography of Australian freshwater fishes.