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Neotropical Ichthyology

Print version ISSN 1679-6225

Abstract

CALCAGNOTTO, Daniela  and  DESALLE, Rob. Population genetic structuring in pacu (Piaractus mesopotamicus) across the Paraná-Paraguay basin: evidence from microsatellites. Neotrop. ichthyol. [online]. 2009, vol.7, n.4, pp. 607-616. ISSN 1679-6225.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1679-62252009000400008.

The Paraná-Paraguay basin encompasses central western Brazil, northeastern Paraguay, eastern Bolivia and northern Argentina. The Pantanal is a flooded plain with marked dry and rainy seasons that, due to its soil characteristics and low declivity, has a great water holding capacity supporting abundant fish fauna. Piaractus mesopotamicus, or pacu, endemic of the Paraná-Paraguay basin, is a migratory species economically important in fisheries and ecologically as a potential seed disperser. In this paper we employ eight microsatellite loci to assess the population structure of 120 pacu sampled inside and outside the Pantanal of Mato Grosso. Our main objective was to test the null hypothesis of panmixia and to verify if there was a different structuring pattern between the Pantanal were there were no physical barriers to fish movement and the heavily impounded Paraná and Paranapanema rivers. All loci had moderate to high levels of polymorphism, the number of alleles varied from three to 18. The average observed heterozygosity varied from 0.068 to 0.911. After the Bonferroni correction three loci remained significant for deviations from Hardy-Weinberg, and for those the frequency of null alleles was estimated. FST and RST pairwise comparisons detected low divergence among sampling sites, and differentiation was significant only between Paranapanema and Cuiabá and Paranapanema and Taquari. No correlation between genetic distance and the natural logarithm of the geographic distance was detected. Results indicate that for conservation purposes and for restoration programs small genetic differences detected in the Cuiabá and Paranapanema rivers should be taken in consideration.

Keywords : Neotropical fish; Pantanal of Mato Grosso; Population genetics; Migratory fish; Serrasalmidae.

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