, Volume 96, Issue 5, pp 631-644
Date: 30 Jun 2012

The origins of limnetic forms and cryptic divergence in Gnathopogon fishes (Cyprinidae) in Japan

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The cyprinid species of the genus Gnathopogon, exhibiting flexible morphological and ecological variation, include limnetic life forms. We examined the origin of the limnetic forms and the population divergence of the Japanese Gnathopogon species, using molecular phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses. A Bayesian phylogenetic inference approach based on mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data revealed three major lineages in G. elongatus. One of them formed a monophyletic group with the limnetic species G. caerulescens, which is endemic to an ancient lake, Lake Biwa. The divergence of the G. caerulescens lineage was estimated to date back to the early Pleistocene. This precedes the formation of the extensive pelagic environment in the present Lake Biwa. However, the recent genetic divergence of G. caerulescens was inferred to originate in the present Lake Biwa in the late Pleistocene. Another lacustrine population in the Mikata Lakes was shown to belong to a different lineage from G. caerulescens. The majority of the population possessed unique, but non-monophyletic, haplotypes, suggesting a short evolutionary history. One of the cryptic lineages of G. elongatus discovered in the Ina Valley, the lower area of Lake Suwa, might be related to the extinct lacustrine subspecies G. elongatus suwae, which has been replaced by introduced congeners. The previous and ongoing introductions of Gnathopogon fishes would have produced genetic disturbance to the indigenous populations.