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Egg surface structure in the annual fishes Simpsonichthys (subgenera Ophthalmolebias and Xenurolebias) and Nematolebias (Teleostei: Cyprinodontiformes: Rivulidae): variability and phylogenetic significance

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The surfaces of the egg chorion of nine species of Simpsonichthys, two of Nematolebias and eight other species of rivulids were studied with scanning electron microscopy revealing details of ornamentation that were previously undocumented. Surface structures of eggs of Simpsonichthys of the subgenus Ophthalmolebias are described for the first time: eggs of Simpsonichthys constanciae, Simpsonichthys perpendicularis, Simpsonichthys rosaceus and Simpsonichthys suzarti are ornamented with a very characteristic palm-like structure, that is restricted to these species among the rivulids examined. The surface of the egg chorion of Simpsonichthys bokermanni lacks the well-developed palm-like structure, but has a characteristic conical projection, distinct from the structures of other rivulids examined, that is proposed as homologous to the palm-like structure. Simpsonichthys bokermanni shares with Nematolebias papilliferus and Nematolebias whitei the presence of concentric rows of spiny projections around the micropylar region. Species of Simpsonichthys of the subgenus Ophthalmolebias, Simpsonichthys myersi (of the subgenus Xenurolebias), and N. whitei share the presence of large rounded protuberances on the surface of the egg chorion. The phylogenetic significance of these features are evaluated and discussed in light of current knowledge about rivulid relationships.
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Keywords: Nematolebias; Ophthalmolebias; Simpsonichthys; annual fishes; egg surface structure; scanning electron microscope

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo Caixa Postal 11461, São Paulo, SP 05422-970, Brazil

Publication date: September 1, 2007

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