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Fine-scale Genetic Structure Of Suckermouth Hypostomus Ancistroides Populations: The Importance Of Neotropical Streams For Fish Conservation

Caroline Apolinário-Silva, Bruno Ambrozio Galindo, Raul Henrique Cardoso Nascimento, Wilson Frantine-Silva, Thais Kotelok-Diniz, Silvia Helena Sofia, Dhiego Gomes Ferreira

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Abstract In the Neotropics, freshwater streams harbour high fish diversity and are constantly threatened by anthropogenic disturbance. However, there are few studies on the genetic diversity of fish populations inhabiting these streams. We aimed to assess, based on microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA markers, the population structure and genetic diversity of the suckermouth catfish, Hypostomus ancistroides, a Neotropical species widely distributed across the Upper Paraná River Basin in South America. Twenty-five locations were sampled, distributed across 18 sites in six tributary streams and another seven sites in the main river channel. Our analyses revealed a spatial heterogeneity in genetic diversity within the basin, indicating fine-scale genetic structuring. Samples from all streams showed exclusive haplotypes and private alleles, reinforcing the importance of preserving the tributaries for the conservation of the genetic diversity of the studied populations. The fine-scale genetic structuring of H. ancistroides is probably related to the limited displacement capacity of this species.