The small size and apparent external morphological similarity of the minute salamanders of the genus Thorius have long hindered evolutionary studies of the group. We estimate gene and species trees within the genus using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA from nearly all named and many candidate species and find three main clades. We use this phylogenetic hypothesis to examine patterns of morphological evolution and species coexistence across central and southern Mexico and to test alternative hypotheses of lineage divergence with and without ecomorphological divergence. Sympatric species differ in body size more than expected after accounting for phylogenetic relationship, and morphological traits show no significant phylogenetic signal. Sympatric species tend to differ in a combination of body size, presence or absence of maxillary teeth, and relative limb or tail length, even when they are close relatives. Sister species of Thorius tend to occupy climatically similar environments, which suggests that divergence across climatic gradients does not drive species formation in the genus. Rather than being an example of cryptic species formation, Thorius more closely resembles an adaptive radiation, with ecomorphological divergence that is bounded by organism-level constraints.(c) 2013 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2013, 109, 622-643.
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