The phylogenetic position of the East Asian freshwater crayfish Cambaroides within the Northern Hemisphere Astacoidea (Crustacea, Decapoda, Astacida) based on molecular data.
The phylogenetic position of the four East Asian freshwater crayfish species of the genus Cambaroides is not settled. Morphological phylogenetic analyses suggest close affinities of Cambaroides with North American Cambaridae. This view is based mainly on characters of the male and female reproductive organs. In contrast, the only molecular phylogenetic analysis so far available leaves the phylogenetic position of Cambaroides unresolved. The question of whether Cambaroides is monophyletic or paraphyletic has so far been neither addressed morphologically nor with molecular data sets. Here we present the first comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of all four currently described species of Cambaroides in the framework of Northern Hemisphere freshwater crayfish (Astacoidea) relationships based on partial sequences of two mitochondrial genes (CO1 and 12S rRNA). Despite some evidence in favour of a monophyletic Cambaroides more data is needed to resolve this question. Our analyses suggest a close relationship of the North American Cambaridae and the European Astacidae, leaving the Asian Cambaroides basal to them. If these results hold true the similar reproductive organs of Cambaroides and American Cambaridae must be either homoplastic or ancestral for Northern Hemisphere Astacoidea.