, Volume 142, Issue 4, pp 323–336 | Cite as

Genetic structure in the Amazonian catfish Brachyplatystoma rousseauxii: influence of life history strategies

  • F. M. Carvajal-Vallejos
  • F. Duponchelle
  • E. Desmarais
  • F. Cerqueira
  • S. Querouil
  • J. Nuñez
  • C. García
  • J.-F. Renno


The Dorado or Plateado (Gilded catfish) Brachyplatystoma rousseauxii (Pimelodidae, Siluriformes) is a commercially valuable migratory catfish performing the largest migration in freshwaters: from the Amazonian headwaters in the Andean foothills (breeding area) to the Amazon estuary (nursery area). In spite of its importance to inform management and conservation efforts, the genetic variability of this species has only recently begun to be studied. The aim of the present work was to determine the population genetic structure of B. rousseauxii in two regions: the Upper Madera Basin (five locations in the Bolivian Amazon) and the Western Amazon Basin (one regional sample from the Uyucalí–Napo–Marañon–Amazon basin, Peru). Length polymorphism at nine microsatellite loci (284 individuals) was used to determine genetic variability and to identify the most probable panmictic units (using a Bayesian approach), after a significant departure from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium was observed in the overall dataset (Western Amazon + Upper Madera). Bayesian analyses revealed at least three clusters in admixture in the five locations sampled in the Bolivian Amazon, whereas only two of these clusters were observed in the Western Amazon. Considering the migratory behaviour of B. rousseauxii, different life history strategies, including homing, are proposed to explain the cluster distribution. Our results are discussed in the light of the numerous threats to the species survival in the Madera basin, in particular dam and reservoir construction.


Bolivia Madera River Population structure Microsatellites Siluriformes Pimelodidae 



We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Institute de Recherche pour le Development (IRD) and the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF—Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program) for the scholarships granted to conduct this study. We extend our sincere thanks to all of the fishermen, government representatives and academic authorities in the Bolivian Amazon who kindly helped with the sampling and permits and shared their knowledge during the years of fieldwork in the Madera, Beni, Madre de Dios, Mamoré and Ichilo rivers. B. Lehner, at the Conservation Science Program, World Wildlife Fund US, generously provided the base map used in Fig. 1. Data used in this work were partly produced through the technical facilities of the labex «Centre Méditerranéen de l’Environnement et de la Biodiversité».

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. M. Carvajal-Vallejos
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • F. Duponchelle
    • 1
    • 4
  • E. Desmarais
    • 1
    • 5
  • F. Cerqueira
    • 5
  • S. Querouil
    • 1
    • 4
  • J. Nuñez
    • 1
    • 4
  • C. García
    • 1
    • 6
  • J.-F. Renno
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratoire Mixte International – Evolution et Domestication de l’Ichthyofaune Amazonienne (LMI – EDIA)Centro de Investigaciones QuistocochaIquitos-LoretoPerú
  2. 2.FAUNAGUA (Institute for Applied Research on Aquatic Resources)Municipio de Sacaba, CochabambaPlurinational State of Bolivia
  3. 3.Unidad de Limnología y Recursos Acuáticos (ULRA), Facultad de Ciencias y Tecnología (FCyT)Universidad Mayor de San Simón (UMSS)CochabambaPlurinational State of Bolivia
  4. 4.Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)UMR-BOREAMontpellierFrance
  5. 5.Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UMR-ISEM (Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution de Montpellier)Montpellier Cedex 5France
  6. 6.Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía peruana (IIAP)IquitosPerú

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