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PeerJ. 2019 Apr 29;7:e6224. doi: 10.7717/peerj.6224. eCollection 2019.

Genetic differentiation in the southern population of the Fathead Minnow Pimephales promelas Rafinesque (Actinopterygii: Cyprinidae).

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Programa Institucional de Doctorado en Ciencias Biológicas, Facultad de Biología, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Morelia, Michoacán, México.
Laboratorio de Biología Acuática, Facultad de Biología, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Morelia, Michoacán, México.
Laboratorio Nacional de Análisis y Síntesis Ecológica para la Conservación de Recursos Genéticos de México, Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores, Unidad Morelia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Morelia, Michoacán, México.
Laboratorio de Ictiología, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Cuernavaca, Morelos, México.


The North American cyprinid Pimephales promelas is a species with a wide distribution range, occurring in distinct hydrographic basins in Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Previous morphological and meristic analyses of P. promelas concluded that at least three subspecies exist in the midwestern and northeast region of the United States. No studies have been carried out on the Mexican population of P. promelas, but the findings of cryptic diversity in United States populations of this species, as well as in other codistributed fish species in Mexico could be an indication that Mexican populations of P. promelas consist of cryptic species. Using the mitochondrial gene cyt b and the first intron of the S7 ribosomal protein-coding nuclear gene we carried out phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses of populations of P. promelas across its distribution range in northwestern Mexico. Using this information were analyzed the structure and differentiation level between populations of P. promelas from distinct river basins in the region in identifying cryptic diversity. Twenty-four sequences were obtained for cyt b, and 30 for S7, which included the two heterozygous alleles. The results revealed the existence of four well-differentiated lineages: (1) Yaqui in the Pacific slope; (2) Santa Maria, and (3) Casas Grandes in the Guzman Basin; and (4) Nazas+Conchos in Chihuahua state. This challenges the current taxonomy of P. promelas. Differences in the relationships between markers and the small sample size for the Santa Maria population (n = 1), indicate that our results must be corroborated with more data and morphological analyses. Biogeographic analysis of these findings suggest that the evolutionary history of P. promelas is associated with the fragmentation of the ancestral Rio Grande river system since Miocene in northwestern Mexico consistent with findings for codistributed fish species.


Genetic lineages; Mesa del Norte; Mexico

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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