Conservation genetics of the threatened catfish Conorhynchos conirostris (Siluriformes: incertae sedis): an evolutionary relict endemic to the São Francisco River Basin, Brazil

Daniel C. Carvalho, Luciano B. Beheregaray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Analysis of genetic datasets can be particularly useful in providing guidelines for conservation management of understudied species targeted by commercial activities. Here we used population genetic approaches to inform on the conservation status of the Neotropical long-nose pirá catfish, Conorhynchos conirostris. Pirá is a large migratory fish endemic to the São Francisco River Basin (SFRB). It is an evolutionarily divergent and relict species, being the sole representative of an incertae sedis family. The species is considered locally extinct in the upper and lower SFRB, listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and as endangered on the Brazilian Red List (ICMBIO). Fishing prohibition has received severe criticism from middle SFRB fisheries that claim that this understudied species is relatively abundant in that region. We used information from 13 microsatellite markers and COI mitochondrial sequences to clarify the genetic diversity of this enigmatic species in the middle SFRB, to estimate contemporary effective population size (Ne), and to assess its conservation status. Results from bottleneck analyses indicated that the species has experienced recent reductions in population size, which is consistent with small estimates of contemporary Ne. The predicted amount of heterozygosity loss (Ht) in t generations ranged from 0.1152 (for an estimated Ne of 26.4; t = 100) to 0.7573 (for an estimated Ne of 169.9; t = 10). Our study supports the conservation status proposed by the ICMBIO to the remaining pirá population. Moreover, we highlight the need for demographic data and the re-assessment of the current IUCN classification for this evolutionary relict lineage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1223-1230
Number of pages8
JournalConservation Genetics
Volume19
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Conservation status
  • Demographic changes
  • Endangered species
  • Fisheries statistics
  • Neotropical catfish
  • Red List

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