, Volume 832, Issue 1, pp 317–329 | Cite as

From shallow to deep divergences: mixed messages from Amazon Basin cichlids

  • Ana Paula C. Carvalho
  • Rupert A. Collins
  • José Gregório Martínez
  • Izeni P. Farias
  • Tomas HrbekEmail author


Cichlids are a conspicuous component of Amazonian ichthyofauna, filling a wide range of niches. Yet taxonomy of many groups is still poorly known in the Amazon, and most of the yet-to-be discovered species are concentrated there. We analyzed 230 individuals sampled from six major Amazonian River Basins representing 56 morpho-species, 34 nominal and 22 undescribed species in 18 cichlid genera. We used four different single-locus species-discovery (SLSD) methods, delimiting between 53 (mPTP) and 57 (GMYC) species/lineages. When detected, species/lineages are hierarchically geographically structured. Many groups such as the Geophaginae and the Cichlinae have recently diversified, and species of genera such as Cichla and Symphysodon hybridize or have a history of hybridization; thus, these species will not be detected by SLSD methods. At the same time, for example, the genera Apistogramma and Biotodoma harbor cryptic species. For all these reasons, species/lineage diversity of Amazonian cichlids is significantly underestimated. The diversity of Amazonian cichlids is particularly remarkable given that the 570 species of Neotropical cichlids, many of which are from the Amazon Basin, are found in just 1.7% of the freshwater aquatic habitat in which the ~ 2,000 species of the East African rift lake cichlids evolved.


Cichlidae Cryptic diversity Cytochrome oxidase subunit I COI 



We thank Lúcia Py-Daniel, Jansen Zuanon and the Ichthyology Group (Rafaela Ota, Madoka Ito, Isabela Soares, Douglas Bastos) at INPA for help with specimen identification. This study formed a portion of APCC’s Masters Dissertation in the Genetics, Conservation and Evolutionary Biology Graduate Program INPA/UFAM. Financial support was provided by CNPq Grant No. 575603/2008-9 and CNPq/SISBIOTA-BioPHAM (Grant No. CNPq 563348/2010) to IPF, and CNPq Grant No. 483155/2010-1 and 490682/2010 to TH. APCC received a Graduate Student Fellowship from CNPq, RAC a “science without borders” Postdoctoral Fellowship CNPq Grant No. 400813/2012-2, JGM a COLCIENCIAS Graduate Student Fellowship, and IPF and TH a CNPq Research Productivity Fellowships. Permission to carry out the fieldwork and the collection of tissue samples was granted by IBAMA (License No. 11325-1).

Supplementary material

10750_2018_3790_MOESM1_ESM.csv (3 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (CSV 2 kb)


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratório de Evolução e Genética Animal (LEGAL), Departamento de GenéticaUniversidade Federal do AmazonasManausBrazil
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  3. 3.Laboratório de Proteômica e Genômica, Programa de Pós-graduação em Biotecnologia e Recursos NaturaisUniversidade do Estado do AmazonasManausBrazil
  4. 4.Grupo de Investigación Biociencias, Facultad de Ciencias de la SaludInstitución Universitaria Colegio Mayor de AntioquiaMedellínColombia

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