To further understand the evolutionary history and mitogenomic features of Australia's highly distinctive freshwater crayfish fauna, we utilized a recently described rapid mitogenome sequencing pipeline to generate 24 new crayfish mitogenomes including a diversity of burrowing crayfish species and the first for Astacopsis gouldi, the world's largest freshwater invertebrate. Whole mitogenome-based phylogeny estimates using both Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood methods substantially strengthen existing hypotheses for systematic relationships among Australian freshwater crayfish with evidence of pervasive diversifying selection and accelerated mitochondrial substitution rate among the members of the clade representing strongly burrowing crayfish that may reflect selection pressures for increased energy requirement for adaptation to terrestrial environment and a burrowing lifestyle. Further, gene rearrangements are prevalent in the burrowing crayfish mitogenomes involving both tRNA and protein coding genes. In addition, duplicated control regions were observed in two closely related Engaeus species, together with evidence for concerted evolution. This study significantly adds to the understanding of Australian freshwater crayfish evolutionary relationships and suggests a link between mitogenome evolution and adaptation to terrestrial environments and a burrowing lifestyle in freshwater crayfish.
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