Mol Phylogenet Evol 2010 Dec 16;57(3):1293-300. Epub 2010 Sep 16.
Department of Biological Sciences, Southeastern Louisiana University, SLU 10736, Hammond, LA 70402, USA.
The genus Vieja represents a group of heroine cichlids (Teleostei: Cichlidae) distributed on the Atlantic and Pacific slopes of North and Central America from southern Mexico to Panama. Sixteen species of Vieja are presently recognized; however, based on long-standing taxonomic problems, the genus itself appears to be weakly defined. A number of different generic designations have been proposed for members of Vieja, and recent systematic studies of heroine cichlids have not specifically addressed the validity of the grouping and have not included all species in the genus. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess the monophyly of the genus Vieja by including all nominal species in the genus using the mitochondrial encoded cytochrome b gene and nuclear S7-1 intron. Results of Maximum Parsimony, Bayesian inference, and topology tests (constraint tree searches and post-burn-in Bayesian filtering) indicate that the genus is not monophyletic as it is currently recognized. The genus Herichthys was recovered as sister to a clade consisting of a number of Vieja species (V. fenestrata, V. guttulata, V. zonata, V. hartwegi, V. bifasciata, V. breidohri, V. argentea, V. regani, V. melanura, V. synspila, and V. maculicauda, as well as Paraneetroplusbulleri). A clade consisting of V. intermedia, V. godmanni, and V. microphthalma was recovered sister to Theraps. Additionally, V. heterospila and V. tuyrensis were recovered outside of Vieja and Herichthys clades. Based on the results of this comprehensive study, we suggest a revised classification of Vieja species.