Date of Award

Fall 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The Zeiformes (dories) are mid-water or deep (to 1000 m) marine acanthomorph fishes with a global, circumtropical, and circumtemperate distribution. Some species have a near-worldwide distribution, while others appear to be regional endemics, e.g., near New Zealand. Six families, 16 genera, and 33 species are currently recognized as valid. Relationships among them, however, remain unsettled, especially in light of recent proposals concerning the phylogenetic placement of zeiforms within the Paracanthopterygii rather than allied with beryciforms or percomorphs. The present study uses mtDNA characters to investigate zeiform interrelationships given their revised phylogenetic placement and attendant changes to their close outgroups, carried out as part of a larger study by Grande et al. (2018) also including nDNA + morphological characters in their assessment of zeiform phylogeny. Results indicate that revised outgroups affected the phylogenetic conclusions, particularly among genus and species level relationships, and that mtDNA analyses recover a different arrangement of family and genus relationships than proposed by prior morphology-only hypotheses. All analyses recovered monophyletic Zeidae, Cyttidae, and Oreosomatidae, and Zeniontidae, and non-monophyletic Parazenidae. Overall, results reflect the particular usefulness of mtDNA characters for examination of recent evolutionary events that shaped genus and species level relationships within Zeiformes, and the necessity of considering multiple lines of evidence to reveal the wider picture of zeiform evolution.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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