We used complete sequence of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene to test monophyly of the Sparoidea, Sparidae, six subfamilies of Sparidae, and to elucidate the interrelationships of the 33 recognized sparid genera. The analysis included 40 sparid species, 10 closely related species, 10 basal percoids, and two nonperciform outgroup species. The aligned 1140 base pairs of cytochrome b yielded 542 parsimony informative characters. Mutational analysis revealed that third codon position transitions were saturated and, therefore, of questionable use in phylogenetic analysis. However, the third codon position transversions and all first and second codon substitutions were not saturated and thus judged more reliable for inferring evolutionary relationship. Parsimony analysis of the equally weighted nucleotide data, weighted nucleotide data set (saturated position transitions given a weight of zero) supported a monophyletic Sparidae with the inclusion of Spicara, which is traditionally included in Centracanthidae. The previously proposed composition of genera within the six sparid subfamilies (Boopsinae, Denticinae, Diplodinae, Pagellinae, Pagrinae, and Sparinae) were not monophyletic in all analyses. This suggests the feeding types on which the subfamilies are based were independently derived multiple times within sparid fishes. In all analyses, Lethrinidae were sister to Sparidae. Sparoidea (Sparidae, Centracanthidae, Lethrinidae, and Nemipteridae) were monophyletic only in the weighted nucleotide phylogeny.

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