Conservation Genetics

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 757–769 | Cite as

High genetic diversity within the morphologically conservative dwarf loach, Kichulchoia brevifasciata (Teleostei: Cobitidae), an endangered freshwater fish from South Korea

  • Daemin Kim
  • Kevin W. Conway
  • Hyung-Bae Jeon
  • Ye-Seul Kwon
  • Yong-Jin Won
Research Article


The dwarf loach, Kichulchoia brevifasciata, is a primary freshwater fish endemic to South Korea (Republic of Korea). Due to its limited geographic range, special habitat requirements, and scarcity, this species has been considered one of the most endangered cobitid loaches in the world. Gene tree and species tree reconstruction derived from mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data supports the exclusivity of K. brevifasciata and the existence of two highly distinct genetic lineages (eastern and western lineages). Intraspecific genetic variation based on the corrected genetic distance ranged from 0.0013 to 0.0017 (cytochrome b) and 0–0.0012 (nuclear loci) within each lineage and 0.0349 (cytochrome b) and 0.0037–0.0104 (nuclear loci) between the lineages. Although morphologically homogeneous, eastern and western lineages were estimated to have diverged roughly 2.79 million years ago (4.25–1.42, 95 % HPD). Future conservation efforts for K. brevifasciata should consider these genetically distinct lineages as separate evolutionary entities and adopt conservation efforts accordingly.


Cypriniformes Cobitoidea Endangered species Species tree analysis Divergence time estimation 



We thank Drew Dittmer (Texas A&M University) for conducting the PCA analysis, Michael Vincent Hirt (University of Minnesota), Mariana Mateos, James Woolley and Maura Palacios (Texas A&M University) for their advice in analysis and laboratory procedure, and Andrew Simons (University of Minnesota), Jessica Light and Elizabeth Marchio (Texas A&M University), and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. Eun-Jin Kim (Kyushu University) and Seong-Jang Jo provided advice that aided in the capture of specimens. We also thank Wan-Ok Lee (Korean National Fisheries Research & Development Institute) for providing the samples of Cobitis choii and Kichulchoia multifasciata used in this study. This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2010-0024578) to YJ Won. Funds from Texas Agrilife Research (to KW Conway) provided financial support to D Kim during 2011 and 2012. This is publication number 1444 of the Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections at Texas A&M University.

Supplementary material

10592_2013_462_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 20303 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daemin Kim
    • 1
  • Kevin W. Conway
    • 2
  • Hyung-Bae Jeon
    • 3
  • Ye-Seul Kwon
    • 4
  • Yong-Jin Won
    • 4
  1. 1.Graduate Degree Program, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries SciencesTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences and Biodiversity Research and Teaching CollectionsTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  3. 3.Department of Life SciencesYeungnam UniversityGyeongsanSouth Korea
  4. 4.Division of EcoScienceEwhaWomans UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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