Integrative study of population structure of Telestes dabar, the strictly endemic cyprinid species from the Dinaric karst on the Balkan Peninsula

  • Ljubinka Francuski
  • Jasmina Ludoški
  • Milica Lukač
  • Radoslav Dekić
  • Vesna MilankovEmail author
Original Article


Diversification of the genus Telestes (Cyprinidae), endemic to the Euro-Mediterranean biogeographic subregion, mirrored an evolutionary footprint of complex biogeographical history. Hence, hidden diversity and noticeably high endemicity of freshwater ichthyofauna were discovered in the Dinaric karst on the Balkan Peninsula. One such example includes two steno-endemic Dinaric karst (Bosnia and Herzegovina) cyprinid species, Telestes dabar and T. metohiensis. Although the conservation status of T. metohiensis has been evaluated, T. dabar from Dabarsko Polje has not yet been assessed for the IUCN Red List due to its taxonomically ambiguous position and data deficiencies. Our first aim was to evaluate the resolution of taxonomic ambiguities of the two putative species, T. dabar and T. metohiensis, by the complementary use of two mitochondrial DNA markers (cytb and COI mtDNA). The results clearly demonstrated the evolutionary independence of T. dabar (Dabarsko Polje) and T. metohiensis (Nevesinjsko Polje) and confirmed the usefulness of both markers for assessing the species borders. In addition, population structure of putative T. dabar was analyzed using cytb and COI mtDNA and morphological parameters (linear measurements and landmark-based geometric morphometric data). A high genetic admixture and homogeneity in T. dabar from Dabarsko Polje were found and confirmed using both morphometric approaches as no statistically significant differences were consistently registered between different samples.


cytb mtDNA COI mtDNA Geometric and linear morphometrics Population structure Cyprinidae 



We thank Dr. Massimo Scandura and the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments which significantly improved the manuscript quality. We are also grateful to Nemanja Gojkovic for language editing and comments on the early version on the manuscript.

Funding information

The Rufford Foundation, UK awarded M.L. two conservation grants (projects entitled: “Population Structure and Vulnerability of the Threatened Fish Species Telestes metohiensis from Karstic Streams in Bosnia and Herzegovina” and “Species Boundary Identification of Endemic Cyprinid Telestes metohiensis Using DNA Taxonomy”). Lj.F., J.L. and V.M. were financed by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of Serbia (Dynamics of gene pool, genetic and phenotypic variability of populations, determined by the environmental changes, No. 173012), while R.D. and M.L. were funded by Ministry of Science and Technology of Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Comparative research of hematology of autochthonous fish species and water quality, No. 19/6-020/961-30/15).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

This work did not involve human subjects or experiments on animals.

Informed consent

Informed consent statement does not apply to this work since it did not involve human subjects.

Supplementary material

10344_2019_1302_MOESM1_ESM.doc (192 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 192 kb)


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Copyright information

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology and Ecology Faculty of Sciences University of Novi SadTrg Dositeja ObradovicaSerbia
  2. 2.Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life SciencesUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Faculty of SciencesUniversity of Banja LukaBanja LUkaBosnia and Herzegovina

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