The freshwater fish fauna of Mexico and Guatemala is exceptionally diverse with >600 species, many endemic. In this study, patterns of sequence divergence were analysed in representatives of this fauna using cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) DNA barcodes for 61 species in 36 genera. The average divergence among conspecific individuals was 0·45%, while congeneric taxa showed 5·1% divergence. Three species of Poblana, each occupying a different crater lake in the arid regions of Central Mexico, have had a controversial taxonomic history but are usually regarded as endemics to a single lake. They possess identical COI barcodes, suggesting a very recent history of isolation. Representatives of the Cichlidae, a complex and poorly understood family, were well discriminated by barcodes. Many species of Characidae seem to be young, with low divergence values (<2%), but nevertheless, clear barcode clusters were apparent in the Bramocharax–Astyanax complex. The symbranchid, Opisthernon aenigmaticum, has been regarded as a single species ranging from Guatemala to Mexico, but it includes two deeply divergent barcode lineages, one a possible new endemic species. Aside from these special cases, the results confirm that DNA barcodes will be highly effective in discriminating freshwater fishes from Central America and that a comprehensive analysis will provide new important insights for understanding diversity of this fauna.
No Supplementary Data
Document Type: Regular Paper
Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1 Canada
El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Av. Centenario km 5.5, Chetumal 77014, Quintana Roo, México
Bioconservación A. C., A.P. 504, San Nicolás de los Garza 66450, Nuevo León, México
Publication date: 2009-02-01