Piranhas and pacus (Characiformes: Serrasalmidae) are a charismatic but understudied family of Neotropical fishes. Here, we analyse a DNA barcode dataset comprising 1,122 specimens, 69 species, 16 genera, 208 localities, and 34 major river drainages in order to make an inventory of diversity and to highlight taxa and biogeographic areas worthy of further sampling effort and conservation protection. Using four methods of species discovery—incorporating both tree and distance based techniques—we report between 76 and 99 species-like clusters, i.e. between 20% and 33% of a priori identified taxonomic species were represented by more than one mtDNA lineage. There was a high degree of congruence between clusters, with 60% supported by three or four methods. Pacus of the genus Myloplus exhibited the most intraspecific variation, with six of the 13 species sampled found to have multiple lineages. Conversely, piranhas of the Serrasalmus rhombeus group proved difficult to delimit with these methods due to genetic similarity and polyphyly. Overall, our results recognise substantially underestimated diversity in the serrasalmids, and emphasise the Guiana and Brazilian Shield rivers as biogeographically important areas with multiple cases of across-shield and within-shield diversifications. We additionally highlight the distinctiveness and complex phylogeographic history of rheophilic taxa in particular, and suggest multiple colonisations of these habitats by different serrasalmid lineages.
A new large serrasalmid species of Tometes is described from the Tocantins-Araguaia River Basin. Tometes siderocarajensis
sp. nov. is currently found in the rapids of the Itacaiúnas River Basin, and formerly inhabited the lower Tocantins River. The new species can be distinguished from all congeners, except from T. ancylorhynchus, by the presence of lateral space between 1st and 2nd premaxillary teeth, and by the absence of lateral cusps in these two teeth. However, T. siderocarajensis
sp. nov. can be differentiated from syntopic congener T. ancylorhynchus by an entirely black with mottled red body in live specimens, densely pigmented pelvic fins with a high concentration of dark chromatophores, and the presence of 39 to 41 rows of circumpeduncular scales (vs. silvery body coloration with slightly reddish overtones on middle flank during breeding period in live specimens, hyaline to slightly pale coloration on distalmost region of pelvic fins, and 30 to 36 rows of circumpeduncular scales). Additionally, molecular sequence shows that T. siderocarajensis
sp. nov. is reciprocally monophyletic, and diagnosable from all congeners by having two autapomorphic molecular characters in the mitochondrial gene COI. The phylogenetic reconstruction still show that T. siderocarajensis
sp. nov. is closely related to T. trilobatus. This is the first molecular study using an integrative taxonomic approach based on morphological and molecular sequence data for all described species of Tometes. These findings increase the number of formally described species of Tometes to seven. A key to the Tometes species is provided.
Alfred Russel Wallace proposed classifying Amazon rivers based on their colour and clarity: white, black and clear water. Wallace also proposed that black waters could mediate diversification and yield distinct fish species. Here, we bring evidence of speciation mediated by water type in the sailfin tetra (Crenuchus spilurus), a fish whose range encompasses rivers of very distinct hydrochemical conditions. Distribution of the two main lineages concords with Wallace's water types: one restricted to the acidic and nutrient-poor waters of the Negro River (herein Rio Negro lineage) and a second widespread throughout the remaining of the species' distribution (herein Amazonas lineage). These lineages occur over a very broad geographical range, suggesting that despite occurring in regions separated by thousands of kilometres, individuals of the distinct lineages fail to occupy each other's habitats, hundreds of metres apart and not separated by physical barrier. Reproductive isolation was assessed in isolated pairs exposed to black-water conditions. All pairs with at least one individual of the lineage not native to black waters showed significantly lower spawning success, suggesting that the water type affected the fitness and contributed to reproductive isolation. Our results endorse Wallace's intuition and highlight the importance of ecological factors in shaping diversity of the Amazon fish fauna.
Pacus of the genus Myloplus represent a formidable taxonomic challenge, and particularly so for the case of M. asterias and M. rubripinnis, two widespread and common species that harbor considerable morphological diversity. Here we apply DNA barcoding and multiple species discovery methods to find candidate species in this complex group. We report on one well-supported lineage that is also morphologically and ecologically distinct. This lineage represents a new species that can be distinguished from congeners by the presence of dark chromatophores on lateral-line scales, which gives the appearance of a black lateral line. It can be further diagnosed by having 25-29 branched dorsal-fin rays (vs. 18-24), 89-114 perforated scales from the supracleithrum to the end of hypural plate (vs. 56-89), and 98-120 total lateral line scales (vs. 59-97). The new species is widely distributed in the Amazon basin, but seems to have a preference for black- and clearwater habitats. This ecological preference and black lateral line color pattern bears a striking similarity to the recently described silver dollar Metynnis melanogrammus.
South American freshwater ichthyofauna is taxonomically the most diverse on the planet, yet its diversity is still vastly underestimated. The Amazon basin alone holds more than half of this diversity. The evidence of this underestimation comes from the backlog of morphologically distinct, yet undescribed forms deposited in museum collections, and from DNA-based inventories which consistently identify large numbers of divergent lineages within even well-studied species groups. In the present study, we investigated lineage diversity within the Geophagus sensu stricto species group. To achieve these objectives, we analyzed 337 individuals sampled from 77 locations within and outside the Amazon basin representing 10 nominal and six morphologically distinct but undescribed species. We sequenced the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and delimited lineages using four different single-locus species discovery methods (mPTP-15 lineages; LocMin-14 lineages; bGMYC-18 lineages; and GMYC-30 lineages). The six morphologically distinct but undescribed species were also delimited by the majority of the species discovery methods. Five of these lineages are restricted to a single collection site or a watershed and their habitats are threatened by human activities such as deforestation, agricultural activities and construction of hydroelectric plants. Our results also highlight the importance of combining DNA and morphological data in biodiversity assessment studies especially in taxonomically diverse tropical biotas.
ABSTRACT. The Amazon pellona is one of the few species of Pristigasteridae with recognized commercial value in the Amazon. We isolated 24 and characterized 8 microsatellite loci for this species. The number of alleles ranges from 2-8 per locus. Observed heterozygosities ranged from 0.052-0.823, while expected heterozygosities from 0.052-0.836. These 8 microsatellites are potentially valuable tools for characterizing the levels and distribution of genetic diversity, population structure, and gene flow. They may also be important parameters for the genetic conservation of this species, as well as for its sister taxon Pellona flavipinnis.
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