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Journal of fish biology

Genetic connectivity and phenotypic plasticity in the cyprinodont Aphanius farsicus from the Maharlu Basin, south-western Iran.


PMID 25644025

Abstract

Meristic and morphometric characteristics, including otolith data, of the Farsi tooth-carp Aphanius farsicus, which is endemic to the endorheic Maharlu Basin in south-western Iran, were analysed for a sample of 92 individuals from four spring-streams; DNA sequence data (cytochrome b gene) are presented for 29 specimens. Some phenotypic variation was detected but the genetic data clearly indicate connectivity between the populations. Possible links between phenotypic variation and environmental variables such as water temperature, habitat size and absence or presence of predators and competitors are discussed. Based on a literature survey and the new data, it is concluded that population connectivity is maintained during times of droughts via large aquifers that formed during the late Pliocene to early Pleistocene, when the extant endorheic Maharlu Basin was created. Based on new data presented here and previous work, it is apparent that plastic and constant characteristics are present in Aphanius species, and that, if a population becomes isolated, a given trend of evolution may give rise to a taxonomically useful characteristic.