Among the anostomid fishes, the genus Leporellus is represented by only three species: L. nattereri, endemic of the Amazon River, L. retropinnis, endemic of the Piracicaba River, and L. vittatus, widely distributed in rivers from Peru, Colombia, Guianas, and different major hydrographic basins of Brazil. A cytogenetic study carried out on specimens of Leporellus vittatus from three major Brazilian hydrographic basins evidenced a karyotype of 54 metacentric and submetacentric chromosomes. C-banding analysis revealed the presence of large pericentromeric heterochromatic segments in all chromosomes and a telomeric block coincident with the NOR sites. Ag, CMA3 or MM staining, and FISH with ribosomal probes located the 45S ribosomal genes on the terminal region of the long arm of the 12th chromosome pair of all populations. Nevertheless, in the specimens from the Paraná and São Francisco Basins the 5S rDNA clusters were interstitially located by FISH on the long arm of the 2nd chromosome pair, while in the specimens from the Tocantins-Araguaia Basin these sites were observed on the long arm of the 9th chromosome pair and on the short arm of the 17th chromosome pair. These data suggest that the species currently named Leporellus vittatus may comprise a complex of cryptic species.
karyotype; C-bands; 45S rDNA; 5S rDNA