Various factors may impact the processes of diversification of a clade. In the marine realm, it has been shown that coral reef environments have promoted diversification in various fish groups. With the exception of requiem sharks, all the groups showing a higher level of diversity in reefs than in non-reef habitats have diets based predominantly on plankton, algae or benthic invertebrates. Here we explore the pattern of diversification of carangoid fishes, a clade that includes numerous piscivorous species (e.g. trevallies, jacks and dolphinfishes), using time-calibrated phylogenies as well as ecological and morphological data from both extant and fossil species. The study of carangoid morphospace suggests that reef environments played a role in their early radiation during the Eocene. However, contrary to the hypothesis of a reef-association-promoting effect, we show that habitat shifts to non-reef environments have increased the rates of morphological diversification (i.e. size and body shape) in extant carangoids. Piscivory did not have a major impact on the tempo of diversification of this group. Through the ecological radiation of carangoid fishes, we demonstrate that non-reef environments may sustain and promote processes of diversification of different marine fish groups, at least those including a large proportion of piscivorous species.
Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3517443.
- Received July 12, 2016.
- Accepted October 7, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.