Combining Morphology and Genetics in Resolving Taxonomy–A Systematic Revision of Spined Loaches (Genus Cobitis; Cypriniformes, Actinopterygii) in the Adriatic Watershed

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2014
Authors:Buj, I, Šanda, R, Marčic, Z, Caleta, M, Mrakovčic, M
Journal:PLoS ONE
Volume:9
Issue:6
Start Page:1
Pagination:25
Abstract:

Taxonomic investigation of spined loaches from Dalmatia and Herzegovina was conducted on specimens from 14 localities. The results of the detailed morphological investigations were combined with genetic data (based on one mitochondrial and two nuclear genes) in order to resolve the taxonomic status of each Cobitis population. Among the investigated features of external morphology, the appearance of spots on the caudal fin base turned out to have the greatest diagnostic value. Furthermore, the number of branched fin rays enabled the discrimination of several species. No morphometric character alone could ensure determination of any Cobitis species. Nevertheless, groups of populations that are more similar in their body shapes correspond to mitochondrial phylogenetic lineages. Based on molecular genetic markers, Dalmatian and Herzegovinian spined loaches form independent lineages inside the Adriatic phylogenetic group. Mitochondrial DNA phylogenetic reconstruction revealed six monophyletic lineages, corresponding to six species distributed in the investigated area. The population distributed in Mostarsko blato karstic field in Bosnia and Herzegovina is described as a new species based on a unique combination of morphological characters: a single triangular Canestrini scale; usually 51/2 branched anal fin rays, 61/2 branched dorsal fin rays, 14 branched caudal fin rays; no spots in the surface pigmentation layer on the caudal fin base; scales on the body very small.

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