, Volume 806, Issue 1, pp 363–409 | Cite as

Diversity, mitochondrial phylogeny, and ichthyogeography of the Capoeta capoeta complex (Teleostei: Cyprinidae)

  • Halimeh Zareian
  • Hamid Reza Esmaeili
  • Ali Gholamhosseini
  • Bella Japoshvili
  • Müfit Özuluğ
  • Richard L. Mayden
Primary Research Paper


Fish species of the genus Capoeta are known for their special mouth morphology (inferior mouth with the horny edge to the lower jaw), short dorsal fin with seven to nine branched rays, and their tumultuous taxonomic history. The genus Capoeta has had a complex evolutionary history with high diversification in the Middle East and is closely related with genus Luciobarbus. Earlier attempts to clarify the complex taxonomy of the group established four species groups, namely C. capoeta, C. damascina, C. tinca, and C. trutta species group. Based on this study, the C. capoeta group currently includes nine taxa (seven previous + two newly included members) and all reviewed in this paper based on morphological characters and mitochondrial genes. Capoeta macrolepis, revalidated as a distinct species, and Capoeta fusca are additional members of the C. capoeta group. Molecular time tree shows that the separation of Capoeta from its relative Luciobarbus was about 12.43–16.99 MYA. Based on the time tree presented herein, the high diversity of Capoeta in the Tigris–Euphrates system, the nesting of Capoeta within the tetraploid Luciobarbus in the mitochondrial trees and the high diversity of Luciobarbus in the Tigris–Euphrates system, it is proposed that the origination and diversification of Capoeta occurred in the palaeo-drainages of the Tigris–Euphrates system. From here, dispersion of Capoeta to the other nearby basins could have been possible through freshwater corridors during the Pliocene or Pleistocene.


Capoeta Molecular analyses Systematics Biogeography Distribution 



We are grateful to M. Masoudi, M. Razbani, H. Mehraban, R. Khaefi, H. Darvishnia and R. Sadeghi for their help during fieldwork and G. Sayyadzadeh for her help in photography. We express our thanks to Environment Departments of Iran for supporting field surveys in Iran. We would like to thank N. Bogutskaya and A. Naseka (Dolsko) for preparing the syntype photos of C. macrolepis and A. Palandacic and E. Mikschi, (NMW) for sending the photos and providing permission for their use. We would like to thank D. Turan and E. Bayçelebi for preparing and sending us type photo of C. ekmekciae and A. V. Balushkin and M. Tahami for preparing and sending us type photo of C. fusca. We would like to thank P.G. Bianco for preparing and sending the syntype photo of C. c. intermedia. This work was funded by the Shiraz University and was approved by the Ethics Committee of Biology Department (ECBD-SU-909789).

Author contributions

Conceived and designed the experiments: HZ-HRE. Fish collection: HRE-HZ-AG-MO-BJ. Performed the experiments: HZ. Analyzed the data: HZ-AG-HRE. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: HZ-HRE. Wrote the paper: HZ-HRE-RLM.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Halimeh Zareian
    • 1
  • Hamid Reza Esmaeili
    • 1
    • 5
  • Ali Gholamhosseini
    • 1
  • Bella Japoshvili
    • 2
  • Müfit Özuluğ
    • 3
  • Richard L. Mayden
    • 4
  1. 1.Ichthyology and Molecular Systematics Research Laboratory, Zoology Section, Department of Biology, College of SciencesShiraz UniversityShirazIran
  2. 2.Hydrobiology and Ichthyology Laboratory, Institute of ZoologyIlia State UniversityTbilisiGeorgia
  3. 3.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceIstanbul UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  4. 4.Department of BiologySaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  5. 5.Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Palaeontology & GeobiologyLudwig-Maximilians-University MunichMunichGermany

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