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Genetics and Molecular Biology

Print version ISSN 1415-4757On-line version ISSN 1678-4685

Genet. Mol. Biol., ahead of print  Epub Aug 22, 2019 


[PROVISIONAL] Genetic evidence for a species complex within the piranha Serrasalmus maculatus (Characiformes, Serrasalmidae) from three Neotropical River basins based on mitochondrial DNA sequences

Thaís Souto  Bignotto1 

Thiago Cintra  Maniglia2 

Vivian Nunes  Gomes3 

Isadora Janolio de  Oliveira3 

Carlos Sérgio  Agostinho4 

Sônia Maria Alves Pinto  Prioli3  5 

Alberto José  Prioli3 

1Universidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná, Unioeste, Campus de Toledo, Centro de Engenharias e Ciências Exatas, Grupo de Pesquisas em Recursos Pesqueiros e Limnologia (Gerpel), R. da Faculdade, 645, 85.903-000, Toledo, PR, Brasil.

2Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná, UTFPR, Campus de Toledo, Toledo, PR, Brasil

3Núcleo de Pesquisas em Limnologia, Ictiologia e Aquicultura (Nupélia), Universidade Estadual de Maringá, UEM, Maringá, PR, Brasil

4Núcleo de Estudos Ambientais (Neamb), Universidade Federal do Tocantins, UFT, Porto Nacional, TO, Brasil

5Departamento de Biotecnologia, Genética e Biologia Celular, Universidade Estadual de Maringá, UEM, Maringá, PR, Brasil


Mitochondrial molecular markers (DNA sequences of D-loop, cytochrome b and cytochrome c oxidase I) were employed to characterize populations of the piranha Serrasalmus maculatus from Upper Paraná, Upper Paraguay and Tocantins River basins. D-loop sequences of S. maculatus population from Paraná-Paraguay River basin exhibited tandem repeats of short motifs (12 base pairs) and variable numbers, depending on specimens, accounting for length variation. Concatenated mitochondrial sequences suggested that S. maculatus encompass different mitochondrial DNA lineages. Although sampling was restricted to three river basins, phylogenetic analysis clearly indicated that the species currently recognized as S. maculatus presents high genetic variability. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian analysis clustered S. maculatus populations according to their locations. However, the highest genetic differentiation was identified between populations from Paraná-Paraguay system and Tocantins River basin. Three species delimitation analyses (PTP, GMYC and ABGD) suggested that are at least two species among the analyzed populations. The analysis of the mitochondrial sequences evidenced genetic differentiation among populations corresponding to related, but different species, suggesting that, at least, S. maculatus from Tocantins River and Paraná-Paraguay River basins are most likely different species. Therefore, S. maculatus should be considered a complex of species with morphologically cryptic diversity. An integrative revision is suggested.


Keywords: cryptic species; species delimitation; D-loop; Cytochrome b; Cytochrome c oxidase I

Full text available in PDF.

Received: May 09, 2018; Accepted: March 08, 2019

Send correspondence to Thaís Souto Bignotto. Grupo de Pesquisas em Recursos Pesqueiros e Limnologia (Gerpel), Unioeste, Campus de Toledo, PR, Brasil. E-mail:

Creative Commons License License information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (type CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original article is properly cited.