From shallow to deep divergences: mixed messages from Amazon Basin cichlids

Ana Paula C. Carvalho, Rupert A. Collins, José Gregório Martínez, Izeni P. Farias, Tomas Hrbek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Cichlids are a conspicuous component of Amazonian ichthyofauna, filling a wide range of niches. Yet taxonomy of many groups is still poorly known in the Amazon, and most of the yet-to-be discovered species are concentrated there. We analyzed 230 individuals sampled from six major Amazonian River Basins representing 56 morpho-species, 34 nominal and 22 undescribed species in 18 cichlid genera. We used four different single-locus species-discovery (SLSD) methods, delimiting between 53 (mPTP) and 57 (GMYC) species/lineages. When detected, species/lineages are hierarchically geographically structured. Many groups such as the Geophaginae and the Cichlinae have recently diversified, and species of genera such as Cichla and Symphysodon hybridize or have a history of hybridization; thus, these species will not be detected by SLSD methods. At the same time, for example, the genera Apistogramma and Biotodoma harbor cryptic species. For all these reasons, species/lineage diversity of Amazonian cichlids is significantly underestimated. The diversity of Amazonian cichlids is particularly remarkable given that the 570 species of Neotropical cichlids, many of which are from the Amazon Basin, are found in just 1.7% of the freshwater aquatic habitat in which the ~ 2,000 species of the East African rift lake cichlids evolved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-329
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Early online date12 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Cichlidae
  • COI
  • Cryptic diversity
  • Cytochrome oxidase subunit I


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