Phylogenetic relationships of a subset of Aphanius fish comprising central Anatolia, Turkey,, are investigated to test the hypothesis of geographic speciation driven by early Pliocene orogenic events in spite of morphological similarity. We use 3434 aligned base pairs of mitochondrial DNA from 42 samples representing 36 populations of three species and six outgroup species to test this hypothesis. Genes analyzed include those encoding the 12S and 16S ribosomal RNAs; transfer RNAs coding for valine, leucine, isoleucine, glutamine, methionine, tryptophan, alanine, asparagine, cysteine, and tyrosine; and complete NADH dehydrogenase subunits I and H. Distance based minimum evolution and maximum-likelihood analyses identify six well-supported clades consisting of Aphanius danfordii, Aphanius sp. aff danfordii, and four clades of Aphanius anatoliae. Parsimony analysis results in 462 equally parsimonious trees, all of which contain the six well supported clades identified in the other analyses. Our phylogenctic results are supported by hybridization studies (Villwock, 1964), and by the geological history of Anatolia. Phylogenetic relationships among the six clades are only weakly supported, however, and differ among analytical methods. We therefore test and subsequently reject the hypothesis of simultaneous diversification among the six central Anatolian clades. However, our analyses do not identify any internodes that are significantly better supported than expected by chance alone. Therefore., although bifurcating branching order is hypothesized to underlie this radiation, the exact branching order is difficult to estimate with confidence. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.