Evolution in the radiolarian genera Theocorythium and Lamprocyclas is documented biometrically in Pliocene and Pleistocene core material from the equatorial Pacific and Indian Oceans. The patterns of morphological change in Theocorythium within a single Pacific core could be interpreted as indicating the in situ evolution of T. trachelium trachelium from T. vetulum via intermediate forms during the Pleistocene. However, consideration of biogeographic data shows that this is not the case and supports instead two alternate interpretations: (1) immigration coupled with extensive hybridization and introgression, or (2) multiple polymorphs of a single species changing in frequency along a cline. Analyses of evolutionary change in Theocorythium and the closely related genus Lamprocyclas during the Pliocene suggest that hybridization may be a significant factor in the production of new species. Evolutionary models and phylogenetic analyses should consider that barriers to gene flow may vary significantly with time and permit the exchange of genetic information between populations previously reproductively isolated.

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