Phylogenomic analysis of the bowfin (Amia calva) reveals unrecognized species diversity in a living fossil lineage

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The Bowfin (Amia calva), as currently recognized, represents the sole living member of the family Amiidae, which dates back to approximately 150 Ma. Prior to 1896, 13 species of extant Bowfins had been described, but these were all placed into a single species with no rationale or analysis given. This situation has persisted until the present day, with little attention given to re-evaluation of those previously described nominal forms. Here, we present a phylogenomic analysis based on over 21,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 94 individuals that unambiguously demonstrates the presence of at least two independent evolutionary lineages within extant Amia populations that merit species-level standing, as well as the possibility of two more. These findings not only expand the recognizable species diversity in an iconic, ancient lineage, but also demonstrate the utility of such methods in addressing previously intractable questions of molecular systematics and phylogeography in slowly evolving groups of ancient fishes.

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Scientific reports

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