Subspecies validity for genus Culter (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) based on morphometrics analysis



The genus Culter, found only in East Asia (China, Vietnam, Korea and Russia), is a primary group of freshwater fishes in the subfamily Cultrinae (Cyprinidae). Of a total of 517 specimens studied, 235 were Culter alburnus from different localities and were used for morphometric analysis in this study. 17 landmarks were used in geometric morphometrics (GM) analysis of shapes. 13 traditional morphometrics (TM) and 21 truss-based morphometrics (TBM) characteristics were measured. The results of discriminant analysis and cluster analysis showed that four species-groups could be divided into separate groups. They were (1) C. alburnus + C. recurviceps, (2) C. dabryi dabryi + C. oxycephalus + C. dabryi shinkainensis, (3) C. oxycephaloides, (4) C. mongolicus mongolicus + C. mongolicus elongates + C. mongolicus qionghaiensis. The six populations of C. alburnus (Basilewsky, Nouv Mém Soc Imp Nat Moscou, 10:215–263, 1855), from Lake Poyanghu, River Songhuajiang, River Liaohe, River Jialingjiang, River Lijiang and Lake Taihu, should be classified as different geographical populations, but not subspecies. C. mongolicus elongates (He and Liu, Zool Res, 1(4):483–485, 1980) from Lake Chenghaihu and C. mongolicus qionghaiensis (Ding, Acta Zootaxon Sin, 15(2):246–250, 1990) from Lake Qionghaihu should be classified as subspecies. C. dabryi shinkainensis differed greatly from C. dabryi dabryi in body forms, and we suggest that C. dabryi shinkainensis should be changed to species, instead of subspecies, namely Culter shinkainensis (Yih and Chu, Acta Hydrobiol Sin, 2:170–199, 1959).


Culter Geometric morphometrics Discriminant analysis Cluster analysis Subspecies validation 



We would like to thank Y. Chen of School of Marine Science, University of Maine in USA, H.Z. Liu of Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and two anonymous reviewers for providing valuable comments on our manuscript. We thank SP He and EH Feng of the Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and ZQ Wu of the College of Life Sciences, Nanchang University in China for assistance in taking photographs of specimens. This research was supported by grants from the Department of Education of Jiangxi Province of China (JYTKJ0201).


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of FisheriesHuazhong Agriculture UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.College of Life SciencesJiujiang UniversityJiujiangChina

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