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Range-wide population genetics of the tapertail anchovy Coilia nasus based on exon-capture data


The tapertail anchovy (Coilia nasus) is an economically important species, mainly distributed along the coast of the northwestern Pacific and associated freshwater bodies, including the Qiantang River, the Yangtze River, the Liaohe River, and the Yalu River of China, and further eastward to Korean Peninsula and Ariake Sound of Japan. There have been many studies on population genetics of C. nasus, but those were either focused on a few populations or used limited number of loci. The results are still controversial and the range-wide population structure of C. nasus is not resolved. This study is aimed to estimate genetic differences among populations from Japan, Korea and the major drainages of China using thousands of loci collected by exon-capture method. The reconstructed maximum likelihood tree, Network, and STRUCTURE analysis confirmed that the population from Lake Dongting should be considered as a separate species, C. brachygnathus, whereas the other populations were mixed together except that fish collected from the Shuangtaizi River of Liaohe drainage were grouped with the fish from Dongting. The AMOVA revealed that genetic variation was 6.36% among populations and 93.61% among individuals within population, when C. brachygnathus was excluded from the analysis. Pairwise FST showed that genetic difference between C. brachygnathus and C. nasus was high (0.0889–0.7350) and difference among the other populations were low (0.0086–0.3127) but significant, suggesting imperfect natal homing of migratory C. nasus. According to our results, an integrated management strategy should be taken jointly by the countries of this region to protect the valuable fisheries resource of C. nasus.

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We thank Ms Shuli Song for helping with sample collection. We thank the anonymous reviewers for the constructive comments and suggestions.


This work was supported by “Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (19050501900)”, “Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (19410740500).”

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Correspondence to Chenhong Li.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing interests.

Ethics approval

All experimental procedures involving fish were approved by the Animal Ethics Committee of Shanghai Ocean University, China.

Sampling and field studies

All necessary permits for sampling have been obtained by the authors.

Data availability

The raw reads and sequencing data have been uploaded in the SRA under Bioproject number PRJNA751281.

Author contribution

The raw reads and sequencing data have been uploaded in the SRA under Bioproject number PRJNA751281.FC, CL and HH conceived the research plan. HH, FC and JJ did experiments and collected data. HH, JJ and KS analyzed the data. CL, KS, JK and HH wrote the draft. All authors edited and approved the final version of the manuscript.

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Communicated by S. E. Lluch-Cota

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Huang, H., Jiang, J., Cheng, F. et al. Range-wide population genetics of the tapertail anchovy Coilia nasus based on exon-capture data. Mar. Biodivers. 52, 43 (2022).

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  • Migratory anchovies
  • Landlocked population
  • Genetic diversity
  • Population structure
  • The northwestern Pacific
  • Fisheries management