Cryptic diversity in the Indian clade of the catfish family Pangasiidae resolved by the description of a new species
Among 22 species of the genus Pangasius, distributed in Southeast and South Asia, only one species, Pangasius pangasius, is known to exist in South Asia. Phylogenetic analysis based upon COI and Cytb sequences suggested that the P. pangasius species clade consists of two subclades. Based upon the genetic and the following morphological evidence, we conclude that these DNA sequence based sister subclades represent two distinct species, P. pangasius and an undescribed species from river Krishna, named as P. silasi. Morphologically, P. silasi is differentiated from its congener P. pangasius by a combination of characters, such as vomero-palatal teeth confluent as an uninterrupted curved band (vs two lunate vomero-palatal teeth patches on each side with a wide gap in the center) and vertebral count of 48 (vs 44). For several morphological characters, P. silasi is also distinct from P. myanmar, which is reported from Myanmar and has overlapping distribution with P. pangasius. Finally, the vomero-palatine dentition in P. silasi is distinct from the dentition structures reported for all the other Pangasius species. The biogeographical significance of finding this new species, P. silasi, in a river of the Indian peninsula is also discussed in this report.
KeywordsPangasius River Krishna DNA sequences Molecular phylogeny Morphology Biogeography
The authors are grateful to the consistent support of the Director, NBFGR, Lucknow during this work. The authors are thankful to the NAIP-GEF, New Delhi, India, for providing financial assistance under the Project Code: 30036, GEF funded, Harmonizing Biodiversity Conservation and Agricultural Intensification through Integration of Plant, Animal and Fish Genetic Resources for Livelihood Security in Fragile Ecosystem. The authors acknowledge Dr. K.P. Bineesh, Scientist NBFGR for the useful suggestions and Mr. K. N. George, CMFRI for the line drawings.
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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. The manuscript is submitted after forwarding through prescribed procedures of the institute with the approval of competent authority.
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