Patterns of Phenetic Diversity and Taxonomy of the Common Rudd Scardinius erythrophthalmus (Cypriniformes, Cyprinidae) from the Water Bodies of Russia and Adjacent Countries


The phenetic diversity of the rudd Scardinius erythrophthalmus (L.) from the Russian Federation and some neighboring countries has been studied using the methods of population morphology. We analyzed our own collections and literature data on the meristic characters of external morphology, axial skeleton, seismosensory system, and the pharyngeal tooth formula. Two phenetically distinct population systems were distinguished within the investigated part of the species range: the western group covering the upper and middle Volga River together with the water bodies located southwestward and westward off the Volga River basin, and the southeastern group, including the rudds from the lower Volga River, the reservoirs belonging to the Caspian Sea region, and the inland drainage basins of Kazakhstan up to the Syr Darya and Chu rivers. The number of lateral line scales, total number of vertebrae, caudal and precaudal vertebrae ratio, and the number of gill rakers are the main characters contributing to population differentiation. Strong positive relationships of the first two traits with the geographical latitude of habitats were found; first and foremost, they are due to the (sub)speciation processes in river basins, but not to the direct influence of physical factors functionally dependent on latitude. The results are not consistent with the existing concept of the rudd as a monomorphic species and call for a taxonomic revision of this species in its current status.

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    The Trans-Caspian basin here refer to the lower reaches of large rivers of the Caspian Sea basin and the water bodies of the Caspian Depression.


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We are deeply grateful to A.N. Kas’yanov and T.V. Goroshkova for their significant contribution to the collection and processing of material for this article, as well as to V.G. Poznyak (Kalmyk State University) for providing osteological preparations for the common rudd from the lower reaches of the Kuma River.


This work was financially supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (projects nos. 08-04-00061a and 14-04-00022) and by the framework of State Tasks of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences, no. 0109-2018-0076, АААА-А18-118042490059-5 and the Institute of Biology of Inland Waters of the Russian Academy of Sciences, nos. AAAA- A18-118012690222-4 and AAAA-A18-118012690101-2.

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Translated by D. Martynova

Abbreviations: PDS, phenetic diversity structure; A, number of branched rays in the anal fin, D, number of branched rays in the dorsal fin; D. ph1, number of pharyngeal teeth in the first row; D. ph2, number of pharyngeal teeth in the second row; CPMd, number of openings of the preoperculo-mandibular canal on the dental bone; CPMp, number of openings of the preoperculo-mandibular canal on the preopercular bone, CSOf, number of openings of the supraorbital canal on the frontal bone; CSTp, number of openings of the supratemporal canal on the parietal bone; ll, number of perforated scales in the lateral line;, number of gill rakers on the first branchial arch; Va, number of thoracic vertebrae; Vi, number of transitional vertebrae; Vc, number of caudal vertebrae; Vt, total number of vertebrae; L, geographic latitude.

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Kozhara, A.V., Mavrin, A.S. & Mironovsky, A.N. Patterns of Phenetic Diversity and Taxonomy of the Common Rudd Scardinius erythrophthalmus (Cypriniformes, Cyprinidae) from the Water Bodies of Russia and Adjacent Countries. Inland Water Biol 13, 516–527 (2020).

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  • freshwater fish
  • Cyprinidae
  • Leuciscinae
  • Scardinius erythrophthalmus
  • rudd
  • meristic characters
  • intraspecific variability
  • species structure
  • systematics
  • speciation
  • evolution