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Amphidromous But Endemic: Population Connectivity Of Rhinogobius Gigas (Teleostei: Gobioidei)

Te-Yu Liao, Pei-Luen Lu, Yuan-Huan Yu, Wen-Chien Huang, Jen-Chieh Shiao, Hung-Du Lin, Wei-Cheng Jhuang, Tak-Kei Chou, Fan Li

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Rhinogobius gigas is an amphidromous fish endemic to eastern Taiwan. Fishes with the diadromous behavior are expected to have a broader distribution range and higher genetic homogeneity despite that some amphidromous fishes with limited distribution are observed and R. gigas is an additional exception with a limited distribution range. Rhinogobius gigas has been documented to be retained inshore near the river plume with a short pelagic larval duration of 30–40 days, which may account for the endemism of this species. The short marine larval stage of R. gigas may imply a population genetic structure and the aim of the present study is to test whether the population genetic structure is present in R. gigas. To test the population genetic structure, fragments of mitochondrial displacement loop and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I were sequenced to provide molecular inference for genetic structure among populations. Sixty-nine haplotypes were identified among 191 R. gigas from 10 populations of eastern Taiwan and the mean haplotype and nucleotide diversities for all samples were 0.956 and 0.0024, respectively, implying a bottleneck followed by a recent population expansion further supported by Fu’s Fs (-26.6; p < 0.001) and Tajima’s D (-1.5; p = 0.037) values. The phylogenetic analysis revealed lack of genetic structure and the bush-like median joining network without commonly shared haplotypes supports the same scenario. The genetic homogeneity is probably due to the amphidromous life history providing the opportunity for passive larval transportation among the rivers through coastal currents in eastern Taiwan. The endemism to eastern Taiwan may be a consequence of complicated interactions among short pelagic larval duration, interspecific competition and coastal currents.