Research Article

Genetic and morphological diversity of Moenkhausia oligolepis (Characiformes: Characidae) populations in the tributaries of the Araguaia River, Brazil: implications for taxonomy and conservation

Published: September 29, 2014
Genet. Mol. Res. 13 (3) : 7979-7991 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4238/2014.September.29.11
Cite this Article:
(2014). Genetic and morphological diversity of Moenkhausia oligolepis (Characiformes: Characidae) populations in the tributaries of the Araguaia River, Brazil: implications for taxonomy and conservation. Genet. Mol. Res. 13(3): gmr3957. https://doi.org/10.4238/2014.September.29.11
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Abstract

Molecular genetic assessments that consider ecological information, in addition to endogamy levels, genetic diversity, and the genetic differentiation among species and populations, are particularly important for the conservation of biological diversity. Prime candidates for conservation genetic review are those subject to human use, including harvests for the ornamental fish trade. Colorful South American tetra, such as Moenkhausia oligolepis and M. forestii, are good examples of fish species that are widely collected and exported worldwide. This study aimed to evaluate the population-specific characteristics of M. oligolepis and M. forestii by comparing morphometric and molecular analyses based on ISSR markers, to provide information that would facilitate the sustainable management of these 2 species. Seventy-two specimens were collected from the Araguaia-Tocantins and Paraguay River Basins in Brazil. All specimens were measured and analyzed using ISSR markers. Population-exclusive bands were found among the 86 detected bands, while morphometric clusters reflected the geographical distribution of individuals. Correlated genetic and morphological variation supported the presence of 3 distinct groups from tributaries of the Araguaia and Mortes Rivers. Using the same techniques, all M. oligolepis populations were isolated from M. forestii. This study on Moenkhausia presents an interesting example that could be used to construct a framework of South American ichthyodiversity, and reinforces the necessity of habitat conservation to prevent the loss of biological diversity.

Molecular genetic assessments that consider ecological information, in addition to endogamy levels, genetic diversity, and the genetic differentiation among species and populations, are particularly important for the conservation of biological diversity. Prime candidates for conservation genetic review are those subject to human use, including harvests for the ornamental fish trade. Colorful South American tetra, such as Moenkhausia oligolepis and M. forestii, are good examples of fish species that are widely collected and exported worldwide. This study aimed to evaluate the population-specific characteristics of M. oligolepis and M. forestii by comparing morphometric and molecular analyses based on ISSR markers, to provide information that would facilitate the sustainable management of these 2 species. Seventy-two specimens were collected from the Araguaia-Tocantins and Paraguay River Basins in Brazil. All specimens were measured and analyzed using ISSR markers. Population-exclusive bands were found among the 86 detected bands, while morphometric clusters reflected the geographical distribution of individuals. Correlated genetic and morphological variation supported the presence of 3 distinct groups from tributaries of the Araguaia and Mortes Rivers. Using the same techniques, all M. oligolepis populations were isolated from M. forestii. This study on Moenkhausia presents an interesting example that could be used to construct a framework of South American ichthyodiversity, and reinforces the necessity of habitat conservation to prevent the loss of biological diversity.