Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Phylogeography of the Common New Zealand Wrasse Species, Notolabrus Celidotus, and the Phylogenetics of the Pseudolabrine Tribe

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posted on 2021-11-11, 22:35 authored by Scott, Surrey Lisa

The New Zealand coastline and marine environment is a diverse place and presents plenty of dispersal obstacles to many of the organisms that live there. This thesis investigates the phylogeography of one of the most common fish species around the coast of New Zealand, the endemic wrasse Notolabrus celidotus, using the mitochondrial DNA control region and compares genetic variability to another common New Zealand wrasse, Notolabrus fucicola in a local setting. These species are part of a tribe of temperate fish, the pseudolabrines, which can be found throughout the South and North-West Pacific. The phylogeny of this tribe was also analysed using the mitochondrial 16S gene to investigate the relationships among the New Zealand pseudolabrines and to those species elsewhere. The results suggest that pseudolabrines from mainland New Zealand are closely related and are likely to have originated from southern Australia while species from the Kermadec Islands and other northern islands are more closely related to the species of eastern Australia. The Notolabrus and Pseudolabrus genera should be reviewed to remedy paraphyly of Pseudolabrus. Furthermore, N. celidotus shows no population structuring throughout its range and appears to be rapidly expanding. Genetic variability was similar for both N. celidotus and N. fucicola. The results suggest that the pseudolabrine tribe has made multiple migrations to New Zealand where Notolabrus celidotus was able to spread around the three main islands and, likely facilitated by a long planktonic larval duration, was able to maintain high gene flow among populations.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Marine Biology

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Biological Sciences


Ritchie, Peter