Journal of Phylogenetics & Evolutionary Biology

ISSN: 2329-9002

Open Access

Phylogenetic and Phylogeographic Relationships among Lineages of the Armored Catfish Ancistrus Kner, 1854 (Loricariidae: Ancistrini), from the Amazon and Paraguay Basins


Rafael Splendore de Borba, Sandra Mariotto, Liano Centofante and Patricia Pasquali Parise-Maltempi

Ancistrus is one of the most diverse genera in the Ancistrini tribe, with 64 nominal species. The group is characterized by high cytogenetic variability; the diploid number of chromosomes ranges from 2n = 34 to 2n = 54. Ancistrus is widely distributed in the basins of the Uruguay, Paraguay, and Amazonian rivers; the latter two regions show the greatest diversity of Ancistrus species and karyotypes. Despite these characteristics, the group includes species for which taxonomic identification is difficult, and phylogenetic relationships and phylogeographic patterns, especially in the Paraguay and Amazon basins, have not yet been revealed. In this study, we determined the phylogenetic and phylogeographic relationships among the Ancistrus lineages in these regions. In particular, 93 concatenated sequences of mitochondrial ATPase 6/8 and COI as well as nuclear Rag2 were used for a phylogenetic analysis, and ATPase 6/8 were used for a phylogeographic analysis. The topology generated by the Bayesian method included three distinct clades subdivided into 21 groups. The clades indicated a monophyletic relationship among the lineages from the Amazon and Paraguay basins. The 21 groups had a high average genetic distance (8.4%) and were structured genetically. In the haplotype network, eight large groups were observed, seven belonging to the Paraguay basin and one corresponding to the Amazon basin, and no haplotypes were shared between the two basins. These results indicate that Ancistrus lineages form a monophyletic unit in the Paraguay and Amazon basins, and these lineages have a high level of divergence and genetic isolation. These results corroborate the existence of cryptic species in the region and emphasize the need for a taxonomic revision of the genus in these basins.


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