Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 96, Issue 5, pp 631–644 | Cite as

The origins of limnetic forms and cryptic divergence in Gnathopogon fishes (Cyprinidae) in Japan



The cyprinid species of the genus Gnathopogon, exhibiting flexible morphological and ecological variation, include limnetic life forms. We examined the origin of the limnetic forms and the population divergence of the Japanese Gnathopogon species, using molecular phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses. A Bayesian phylogenetic inference approach based on mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data revealed three major lineages in G. elongatus. One of them formed a monophyletic group with the limnetic species G. caerulescens, which is endemic to an ancient lake, Lake Biwa. The divergence of the G. caerulescens lineage was estimated to date back to the early Pleistocene. This precedes the formation of the extensive pelagic environment in the present Lake Biwa. However, the recent genetic divergence of G. caerulescens was inferred to originate in the present Lake Biwa in the late Pleistocene. Another lacustrine population in the Mikata Lakes was shown to belong to a different lineage from G. caerulescens. The majority of the population possessed unique, but non-monophyletic, haplotypes, suggesting a short evolutionary history. One of the cryptic lineages of G. elongatus discovered in the Ina Valley, the lower area of Lake Suwa, might be related to the extinct lacustrine subspecies G. elongatus suwae, which has been replaced by introduced congeners. The previous and ongoing introductions of Gnathopogon fishes would have produced genetic disturbance to the indigenous populations.


Lacustrine form Lake Biwa Mikata Lakes Lake Suwa Divergence time Bayesian random local clock model 



We are very grateful to T. Abe, T. Asaka, T. Karube, K. Kodama, T. Komiya, H. Kumada, T. Mukai, H. Ogawa, H. Sakai, M. Sugimura, N. Suzuki, and K. Tominaga for providing a portion of specimen, M. Nishida for lending us experimental instruments, and K. Hosoya for giving us valuable information. This study was partly supported by Grants-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (nos. 18570086, 21370035, and 2155282, and “Formation of a Strategic Base for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Research: from Genome to Ecosystem” of the GCOE).

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of ScienceKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Marine BioscienceFukui Prefectural UniversityFukuiJapan
  3. 3.Biological LaboratoryGifu-Keizai UniversityGifuJapan

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