Fairy wrasses and fairy tales!

The fairy wrasses are a captivating and diverse group of fishes found throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. A study led by MEEP Lab PhD student Yi-Kai Tea has resolved the evolutionary relationships among fairy wrasses.

By analysing a data set comprising nearly 1000 genetic markers, Kai reconstructed the evolutionary history and patterns of diversification of the fairy wrasses. The results show that these fishes emerged in the tropical waters of the Coral Triangle before spreading across the oceans within the past 10 million years.

The study involved several members of the MEEP Lab at the University of Sydney, along with collaborators from the Australian Museum Research Institute and James Cook University.

To find out more about this study, see the blog post written by Kai for the Australian Museum Research Institute.

Tea YK, Xu X, DiBattista JD, Lo N, Cowman PF, Ho SYW. 2021 Phylogenomic analysis of concatenated ultraconserved elements reveals the recent evolutionary radiation of the fairy wrasses (Teleostei: Labridae: Cirrhilabrus). Systematic Biology, in press. https://doi.org/10.1093/sysbio/syab012