Cavefishes represent one of the most bizarre and intriguing life forms inhabiting groundwater environments. One-third of the known cavefishes worldwide is endemic to China, and almost half of those belongs to a single genus, Sinocyclocheilus (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae). Analyzing the morphometrics of three Sinocyclocheilus species, we aimed to assess whether variability among conspecific populations exists. We predict that populations inhabiting different subterranean habitats (shallow vs. deep) show divergences in specific morphological traits to better cope with the local ecological conditions. Our results showed that the populations showing bigger eyes and reduced humpback were those occurring close to the cave entrance (habitats with light and high food availability), while specimens with smaller eyes and increased humpback were collected from deeper groundwater areas (habitats laying in darkness with food scarcity). This explorative study paves the way for further researches aiming to collect novel data on Chinese cavefishes and highlights the usefulness of these species in evolutionary studies.

Do Chinese cavefish show intraspecific variability in morphological traits?

Lunghi E.;
2020

Abstract

Cavefishes represent one of the most bizarre and intriguing life forms inhabiting groundwater environments. One-third of the known cavefishes worldwide is endemic to China, and almost half of those belongs to a single genus, Sinocyclocheilus (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae). Analyzing the morphometrics of three Sinocyclocheilus species, we aimed to assess whether variability among conspecific populations exists. We predict that populations inhabiting different subterranean habitats (shallow vs. deep) show divergences in specific morphological traits to better cope with the local ecological conditions. Our results showed that the populations showing bigger eyes and reduced humpback were those occurring close to the cave entrance (habitats with light and high food availability), while specimens with smaller eyes and increased humpback were collected from deeper groundwater areas (habitats laying in darkness with food scarcity). This explorative study paves the way for further researches aiming to collect novel data on Chinese cavefishes and highlights the usefulness of these species in evolutionary studies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/193237
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