Conservation Genetics

, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 2343–2355 | Cite as

Genetic population structure and management units of the endangered Tokyo bitterling, Tanakia tanago (Cyprinidae)

  • Hitoshi Kubota
  • Katsutoshi Watanabe
  • Naoyuki Suguro
  • Masaaki Tabe
  • Kazuhiro Umezawa
  • Seiichi Watanabe
Research Article


The Tokyo bitterling Tanakia tanago (Cyprinidae) was once found throughout the Kanto Plain, central Japan, but most of their habitats have been lost due to human activities such as urbanization and improvement of paddy fields. Subsequently, conservation efforts, including captive breeding and reintroduction, have been ongoing. However, the genetic relationships among populations of this species including captive and remnant wild populations have been uncertain and thus management units for this species have been unidentified. We examined the population differentiation among 12 populations, including four wild and eight captive populations, and their relative genetic diversities to assist in conservation management decisions. Phylogeographic analyses based on partial mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences and microsatellite polymorphisms revealed four geographically associated genetic groups in the populations. Northern Tochigi populations have diverged from other populations (0.77% of d A ), likely stemming from allopatric fragmentation following a change in the route of the Naka River, which occurred during the middle of the Pleistocene epoch. Microsatellite analysis has revealed that the genetic diversity of each population is generally low, and that most of the populations have experienced genetic bottlenecks. For future in- and ex-situ conservation programs to succeed, the population structure and genetic variability of remnant populations need to be taken into consideration.


Conservation Genetic diversity Genetic population structure Management unit Microsatellite mtDNA 



We are grateful to Yoshikazu Nagata for providing samples and to Tomoyuki Nakamura and Nobuhiko Akiyama for providing helpful information on this species. Carl Smith made constructive suggestions for improving the manuscript. Yasuko Shirai kindly provided unpublished information on RC microsatellite primers. We would also like to thank anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. The Boards of Education in Tochigi and Kanagawa Prefectures helped greatly in obtaining permissions to collect samples from live fish. We also thank Naomi Sakae, Yuko Imai, Maiko Tachibana and Kahori Sato for laboratory assistance. This research was partly funded by the Fisheries Research Agency of Japan.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hitoshi Kubota
    • 1
  • Katsutoshi Watanabe
    • 2
  • Naoyuki Suguro
    • 3
  • Masaaki Tabe
    • 4
  • Kazuhiro Umezawa
    • 5
  • Seiichi Watanabe
    • 6
  1. 1.Tochigi Prefectural Fisheries Experimental StationOhtawaraJapan
  2. 2.Department of Zoology, Graduate School of ScienceKyoto UniversitySakyoJapan
  3. 3.Freshwater Fisheries Experiment StationKanagawa Prefectural Fisheries Technology CenterSagamiharaJapan
  4. 4.Baika High SchoolToyonakaJapan
  5. 5.Department of Agriculture and ForestrySaitama PrefectureSaitamaJapan
  6. 6.Department of Marine BioscienceTokyo University of Marine Science and TechnologyMinatoJapan

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