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Perdices, A., I. Doadrio, P.S. Economidis, J. Bohlen & P. Banarescu

Pleistocene effects on the European freshwater fish fauna: double origin of the cobitid genus Sabanejewia in the Danube basin (Osteichthyes: Cobitidae)

Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 26: 289-299

Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 26: 289-299 (2003)

Pleistocene effects on the European freshwater fish fauna: double origin of the cobitid genus Sabanejewia in the Danube basin (Osteichthyes: Cobitidae)


1 Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Dept. Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, C/ José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain, 2 Aristotle University, Lab. Ichthyology, P.O. BOX 134, Thessaloniki, 54006 Greece, 3 Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 27721 Libechov, Czech Republic, 4 Lab. Biologie Evolutive, Institul de Biologie, Str. Frumoasa, 31 B, R0-78114 Bucuresti, Rumania,



Biogeographical hypotheses of European freshwater fishes were inferred using phylogeographic analysis of the complete cytochrome b and ATP synthase 8 and 6 mitochondrial genes (1982 bp). To test the relative importance of drainage origin versus Pleistocene glaciations in the origin of primary freshwater fishes in Europe, we reconstructed the phylogenetic relationships of the genus Sabanejewia which is distributed in Central European waters. The phylogenetic relationships recovered for the genus Sabanejewia (n=75) provide support for the monophyly of six main evolutionary mtDNA lineages: S. larvata, S. romanica, S. aurata/S. caucasica, S. kubanica, S. baltica, and the Danubian-Balkanian complex. The Caucasian-Caspian mtDNA lineages, S. kubanica, S. aurata/S.caucasica, and the Northern European S. baltica represents the sister group of the Danubian-Balkanian complex mtDNAclade, supporting a Caucasian-Northern European origin of most of mtDNA lineages of the Central European freshwater fish fauna. The mtDNA divergence observed between the Danubian Sabanejewia species is too dissimilar to support their contemporary origin. Rather, the mtDNA data suggest that the Danubian Sabanejewia lineages most likely have a double origin, indicating that the European Sabanejewia lineages have experienced different historical processes for the following reasons. First, the origin of the S. larvata and S. romanica mtDNA clades predates the origin of the Danubian-Balkanian complex, and our results showed that the completion of the Alps and the origin of the Danube drainage seem to have promoted the speciation of the earliest Sabanejewia clades in the Miocene. Second, small genetic distances and the geographical pattern found within the Danubian-Balkanian complex clade indicate that the lineages included in this clade spread recently across the Danube and Greek river drainages. The inclusion of the S. balcanica species within all mtDNA lineages suggests that cyclical cold periods during the Pleistocene glaciations have favoured its rapid expansion and genetic homogenisation across Central European and Greek waters.


Keywords: ATP synthase 8 and 6, Cobitidae, cytochrome b, freshwater fishes, mitochondrial DNA, phylogeography, Pleistocene glaciations