, Volume 12, Issue 6-7, pp 553-558

Cytotaxonomy of antarctic teleosts of the Pagothenia/Trematomus complex (Nototheniidae, Perciformes)

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The interspecific relationships and taxonomy of 12 antarctic coastal Nototheniids (the Pagothenia/ Trematomus complex) are still under discussion. Here we present karyological data on eight species in hope that further cytogenetic data can help to clarify phylogenetic problems. Pagothenia bernacchii (2n = 48) has a generalized karyotype which has not developed heterochromosomes. P. hansoni, P. borchgrevinki and Trematomus newnesi share very similar karyotypes with 2n = 46 for females and 2n = 45 for males. The difference between sexes is probably due to the development of a multiple sex-chromosome system with a neo-Y, typical of males, which originated from a centric fusion of an autosome (now X2) with an undifferentiated Y. The chromosome morphology of the three species seems to be related to that of P. bernacchii. T. nicolai (2n = 58, 57) has a karyotype numerically and morphologically divergent from that of the above species; T. nicolai males may have developed a neo-Y through a tandem translocation. T. pennellii (2n = 32), T. loennbergii (2n = 28; 2n = 30 in a single female) and T. eulepidotus (2n = 24) show karyotypes with progressively fewer chromosomes but with an increasing number of large, bi-armed chromosomes. Such a “symmetrization” process is generally found in advanced poikilothermic Vertebrates and the three species of Trematomus could therefore be considered as karyologically derived. However, parallelism in the karyotype differentiation producing convergence in the chromosome morphology of distantly related species cannot yet be excluded.