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Publication Date

March 2014




AuthorsLuis Espinasa 1, Nicole D. Bartolo 1, Catherine E. Newkirk 1 1School of Science, Marist College, 3399 North Rd, Poughkeepsie, New York 12601, USA Corresponding author: Luis Espinasa ( - Academic editor: O. Moldovan AbstractThe blind Mexican tetra fish, Astyanax mexicanus, has become the most influential model for research of cave adapted organisms. Many authors assume that the Sierra de Guatemala populations and the Sierra de El Abra populations are derived from two independent colonizations. This assumption arises in part from biogeography. The 100 m high, 100 m wide Servilleta Canyon of the Boquillas River separates both mountain ranges and is an apparent barrier for troglobite dispersion. Anelpistina quinterensis (Nicoletiidae, Zygentoma, Insecta) is one of the most troglomorphic nicoletiid silverfish insects ever described. 16S rRNA sequences support that this species migrated underground to reach both mountain ranges within less than 12, 000 years. Furthermore, literature shows a plethora of aquatic and terrestrial cave restricted species that inhabit both mountain ranges. Thus, the Servilleta canyon has not been an effective biological barrier that prevented underground migration of troglobites between the Sierra de Guatemala and the Sierra de El Abra. The Boquillas River has changed its course throughout time. Caves that in the past connected the two Sierras were only recently geologically truncated by the erosion of the new river course. It is likely that, with the geological changes of the area and throughout the 2-8 million years of evolutionary history of cave Astyanax, there have been opportunities to migrate across the Servilleta canyon. KeywordsAnelpistina quinterensis, Neonicoletia, Cubacubaninae, Nicoletiidae, Zygentoma, Insecta, Thysanura, Silverfish, Astyanax, blind tetra, Characidae, Sierra de El Abra, Sierra de Guatemala, 16S rRNA, Molecular clock, Colonization Citation: Espinasa L, Bartolo ND, Newkirk CE (2014) DNA sequences of troglobitic nicoletiid insects support Sierra de El Abra and the Sierra de Guatemala as a single biogeographical area: Implications for Astyanax. Subterranean Biology 13: 35-44. doi: 10.3897/subtbiol.13.7256 (C) 2014 Luis Espinasa. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Open Access See Extended description for more information.





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