Conservation Genetics

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 383–400 | Cite as

The genetic status of two subspecies of Rhodeus atremius, an endangered bitterling in Japan

  • Takuya Miyake
  • Jun Nakajima
  • Norio Onikura
  • Shigetoyo Ikemoto
  • Kei’ichiro Iguchi
  • Akira Komaru
  • Kouichi KawamuraEmail author
Research Article


Rhodeus atremius is an endemic bitterling fish from Japan comprising two endangered subspecies, R. a. atremius and R. a. suigensis. The latter subspecies, which had dramatically declined in last decades, was reported to contain two distinct mtDNA lineages. In order to estimate the optimized units for conservation management, the genetic structure of R. atremius was inferred by analyzing mtDNA and microsatellite markers (MS). Allelic richness and heterozygosity of MS in R. a. suigensis was less than half that in R. a. atremius. In R. a. suigensis, not only within-population genetic diversity but also among-population genetic divergence was low, with the exception of population Ah1, while the diversity was high and the divergence showed isolation by distance in R. a. atremius. In mtDNA and MS, R. a. suigensis concordantly formed a single lineage, while R. a. atremius encompassed four mtDNA lineages, two of which were completely admixed into one group on the basis of MS. In population Ah1 a striking introgression between the two subspecies was suggested by a Bayesian-based assignment test, with the presence of mtDNA haplotype of R. a. atremius. Contrary to the prevailing theory, R. a. suigensis corresponds to a single conservation unit, while three units seem appropriate for R. a. atremius. In addition, low genetic diversity of R. a. suigensis might have arisen mainly as a result of recent bottlenecks before population fragmentation, followed by current anthropogenic effects. Genetic introgression in population Ah1 was probably the result of human transplantation of R. a. atremius.


Bottleneck Evolutionary Conservation Unit Genetic diversity Introgression Metapopulation Rhodeus atremius 



We thank the staff of the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and Okayama Prefecture Environmental Conservation Agency for supplying samples of R. a. suigensis. We also thank Carl Smith (University of St. Andrews, UK) for comments and English revision. We express sincere thanks to two anonymous reviewers for the critical comments and useful suggestions that have helped us to improve our paper considerably. This study was carried out as a part of a conservation project for R. a. suigensis organized by the Ministry of Environment of Japan, the Fisheries Agency in Japan and Okayama Prefectural Office. This study was partly supported by Interdisciplinary Research Institute of Environmental Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takuya Miyake
    • 1
  • Jun Nakajima
    • 2
  • Norio Onikura
    • 3
  • Shigetoyo Ikemoto
    • 4
  • Kei’ichiro Iguchi
    • 5
  • Akira Komaru
    • 1
  • Kouichi Kawamura
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Graduate School of BioresourcesMie UniversityTsu CityJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of EngineeringKyushu UniversityFukuoka CityJapan
  3. 3.Fishery Research LaboratoryKyushu UniversityFukutsu CityJapan
  4. 4.Okayama Prefecture Environmental Conservation AgencyOkayama CityJapan
  5. 5.National Research Institute of Fisheries ScienceFisheries Research AgencyUeda CityJapan

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