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Geographical differentiation of Aphanius dispar (Teleostei: Cyprinodontidae) from Southern Iran

Home Forums Ichthyology Geographical differentiation of Aphanius dispar (Teleostei: Cyprinodontidae) from Southern Iran

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    Matt
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    Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research – early view

    Abstract

    The Arabian cyprinodontid Aphanius dispar (Rüppell, 1829) is known to show considerable morphological variation. It has remained unknown, however, whether this variation is a result of environmental differences or allopatric divergence owing to geographical isolation. In this study, 11 populations of A. dispar from three geographically separated basins were analysed, that is, the Makran Basin (I, one river system), the Hormuzgan Basin (II, five rivers and three hot springs) and the Helleh Basin (III, two hot springs) in southern Iran. Statistical analyses do not indicate significant differences between the fishes from river and hot spring habitats (T-test, p <  0.05), which is also supported by the Canonical Discriminant Analysis (CDA). Nevertheless, morphometric and meristic characters of the fishes, as well as otolith morphology and morphometry, demonstrate that six phenotypic characters discriminate the A. dispar populations of the three basins, that is, (1) predorsal distance (Prdd.SL), (2) head length (HL.SL), (3) pelvic fin length (Lplf.SL), (4) number of pelvic fin rays, as well as relative length of both the (5) medial part and (6) rostrum of the otolith. In addition, these characters display a consistent pattern of variation, thus providing support for the assumption that the phenotypically different A. dispar populations are a result of geographical isolation and not related to environmental differences. It is likely that the geological history of the drainage systems caused isolation event(s) that may date back to the Pleistocene (1.8 million years before present). The high phenotypic differences might suggest that theA. dispar populations from the three studied basins represent separate subspecies or even species.

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