Journal of fish biology

Comparative pattern of genetic structure in two Mediterranean killifishes Aphanius fasciatus and Aphanius iberus inferred from both mitochondrial and nuclear data.

PMID 26010329


In this study, genetic variation was assessed in Aphanius fasciatus and Aphanius iberus characterized by similar ecological traits but with very different distribution ranges in the Mediterranean area. Five populations of A. iberus and five of A. fasciatus were analysed using five polymorphic microsatellite loci and partial mitochondrial control region (D-loop) sequences. Congruent results were found with both nuclear and mitochondrial molecular markers. The results showed that similar levels of genetic divergence, based on mitochondrial control region sequences, are present among populations of A. iberus and among populations of A. fasciatus despite the very different geographic distance existing among the examined populations of the two species (low geographic distance in A. iberus and high in A. fasciatus). A possible explanation could be that the populations of A. iberus were isolated for a longer time than the populations of A. fasciatus supporting the hypothesis that the split in the lineage leading to A. iberus is older than the split in the lineage leading to A. fasciatus. The possibility that the wide circum-Mediterranean distribution of A. fasciatus ensures the high connectivity of its populations, preventing, in some cases, local differentiation, however, cannot be ruled out.