Molecular phylogenetic evidence for the reorganization of the Hyperiid amphipods, a diverse group of pelagic crustaceans

Carla Hurt, Steven H.D. Haddock, William E. Browne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Within the crustaceans, the Amphipoda rank as one of the most speciose extant orders. Amphipods have successfully invaded and become major constituents of a variety of ecosystems. The hyperiid amphipods are classically defined as an exclusively pelagic group broadly inhabiting oceanic midwater environments and often having close associations with gelatinous zooplankton. As with other amphipod groups they have largely been classified based on appendage structures, however evidence suggests that at least some of these characters are the product of convergent evolution. Here we present the first multi-locus molecular phylogenetic assessment of relationships among the hyperiid amphipods. We sampled 51 species belonging to 16 of the 23 recognized hyperiidian families for three nuclear loci (18S, 28S, and H3) and mitochondrial COI. We performed both Bayesian Inference and Maximum Likelihood analyses of concatenated sequences. In addition, we also explored the utility of species-tree methods for reconstructing deep evolutionary histories using the Minimize Deep Coalescence (MDC) approach. Our results are compared with previous molecular analyses and traditional systematic groupings. We discuss these results within the context of adaptations correlated with the pelagic life history of hyperiid amphipods. Within the infraorder Physocephalata (Bowman and Gruner, 1973) we inferred support for three reciprocally monophyletic clades; the Platysceloidea, Vibilioidea, and Phronimoidea. Our results also place the enigmatic Cystisomatidae and Paraphronimidae at the base of the infraorder Physosomata (Bowman and Gruner, 1973) suggesting that Physosomata as traditionally recognized is paraphyletic. Based on our multilocus phylogeny, major rearrangements to existing taxonomic groupings of hyperiid amphipods are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-37
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Amphipoda
  • Evolution
  • Hyperiidea
  • Molecular phylogeny
  • Oceanic midwater environment
  • Species tree

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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