Molecular systematics and distribution review of the endemic cyprinid species, Persian chub, Acanthobrama persidis (Coad, 1981) in Southern Iran (Teleostei: Cyprinidae)

Document Type : Original article


1 Kerman University

2 Department of Biology, College of Sciences, Shiraz University

3 Shiraz University


The Iranian Persian chub is an endemic species of the family Cyprinidae known only from few localities in drainages of Southern Iran. It was originally described in the genus Pseudophoxinus as (Pseudophoxinus persidis) and then Petroleuciscus (as Petroleuciscus persidis). In this study, we examined phylogenetic relationships of the Iranian Persian chubwith other relatives in the family Cyprinidae based on the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene to estimate the phylogenetic (and taxonomic) position of the species. Our molecular phylogenies show that new fish sequences from the drainages in southern Iran are clustered with sequences of the genus Acanthobrama from GenBank while the sequences from two other genera (Pseudophoxinus and Petroleuciscus) are in distinct clade. Therefore, we conclude that the populations of Persian Chub in drainages of southern Iran (i.e., Kol, Kor, Maharlu and Persis) belong to the genus Acanthobrama andspecies Acanthobrama persidis. The predicted geographic distributions for the species showed a large area of suitable climate for A. persidis across south and west of Iran especially in the Kor River basin. Some other parts in the Persis and Tigris are also might have been suitable habitats for this cyprinid species showing possible dispersal route of Acanthobrama from Tigris to the Persis, Kor and Kol basins.


  1. Esmaeili HR, Coad BW, Gholamifard A, Nazari N, Teimori A. Annotated checklist of the freshwater fishes of Iran. Zoosyst Rossica 2010;19:361-386.
  2. Coad BW. Pseudophoxinus persidis, a new cyprinid fish from Fars, southern Iran. Can J Zool 1981;59:2058-2063.
  3. Trewavas E. The type-species of the Phoxinellus, Pseudophoxinus and Paraphoxinus (Pisces, Cyprinidae). Bull Br Mus Nat Hist Zool 1972; 21:359-361.
  4. Abdoli A. The Inland Water Fishes of Iran. Iranian Museum of Nature and Wildlife, Tehran 2000; 378 pp. [In Persian].
  5. Bogutskaya NG. Contribution to the knowledge of leuciscine fishes of Asia Minor. Part 1. Morphology and taxonomic relationships of Leuciscus borysthenicus (Kessler), Leuciscus smyrnaeus Boulenger and Ladigesocypris ghigii (Gianferrari) (Cyprinidae, Pisces). Publ Espec Inst Oceanogr 1996;21:25-44.
  6. Bogutskaya NG. Petroleuciscus, a new genus for the Leuciscus borysthenicus species group (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Zoosyst Rossica 2002;11:235-237.
  7. Coad BW. Freshwater fishes of Iran
  8. Teimori A. Preliminary study of freshwater fish diversity in Fars province. M.Sc. Thesis, Shiraz University, Shiraz, 2006. [In Persian]
  9. Coad BW, Bogutskaya NG. Petroleuciscus esfahani, a new species of fish from central Iran (Actinopterygii: Cyprinidae). Zootaxa 2010;2534:37-47.
  10. Günther RT. Contributions to the natural history of Lake Urmi, N. W. Persia, and its neighbourhood. Zool J Linn Soc 1899; 27: 345-453.
  11. Coad BW. A new species of tooth-carp, Aphanius mesopotamicus, from Iran and Iraq (Actinopterygii, Cyprinodontidae). Zookeys 2009;31:149-163.
  12. Perea S, Böhme M, Zupančič P, Freyhof J, Šanda R, Özuluğ M, Abdoli A, Doadrio I. Phylogenetic relationships and biogeographical patterns in Circum-Mediterranean subfamily Leuciscinae (Teleostei, Cyprinidae) inferred from both miotochondrial and nuclear data. BMC Evol Biol 2010;10:265
  13. Hijmans RJ, Phillips S, Leathwick J, Elith J. dismo. Species distribution modeling. R package version 0. 7-23. 2012; Available from: < package=dismo>. Accessed: 17 June 2013.
  14. Sambrook J, Fritsch E F, Maniatis T. Molecular cloning: a laboratory manual, 2nd edn. Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Colad Spring Harbor Laboratory Press 1989.
  15. Machordom A, Doadrio I. Evolutionary history and speciation modes in the cyprinid genus Barbus. Proc R Soc Lond [Biol] 2001;268:1297-1306.
  16. Schmidt TR, Gold JR. Complete sequence of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene in the cherryfin shiner, Lythrurus roseipinnis (Teleostei, Cyprinidae). Copeia 1993; 3:880-883.
  17. Perdices A, Carmona JA, Fernandez-Delgado C, Doadrio I. Nuclear and mitochondrial data reveal high genetic divergence among Atlantic and Mediteranean populations of the Iberian killifish Aphanius iberus (Teleostei, Cyprinodotidae). Heredity 2001;87:314-324.
  18. Edgar RC. MUSCLE: multiple sequence alignment with high accuracy and high throughput. Nucleic Acids Res 2004;32:1792-1797.
  19. Stamatakis A. RAxML-VI-HPC: maximum likelihood-based phylogenetic analyses with thousands of taxa and mixed models. Bioinformatics, 2006; 22: 2688-2690.
  20. Ronquist F, Huelsenbeck JP. MRBAYES 3: Bayesian phylogenetic inference under mixed models. Bioinformatics 2003;19:1572-1574.
  21. Huelsenbeck J P, Ranala B. Frequentist properties of Bayesian posterior probabilities of phylogenetic trees under simple and complex substitution models. Syst Biol 2004:53:904-913.
  22. Kimura MA simple method for estimating evolutionary rate of base substitutions through comparative studies of nucleotide sequences. J Mol Evol 1980; 16:111 120.
  23. Hijmans RJ, Cameron SE, Parra JL, Jones PG, Jarvis A. Very high resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas. Int J Climatol 2005;25:1965-1978.
  24. Phillips SJ, Anderson RP, Schapire RE. Maximum entropy modeling of species geographic distributions. Ecol Model 2006;190:231-259.
  25. Swets JA. Measuring the accuracy of diagnostic systems. Science 1988;240:1285-1293.
  26. Coad BW. Zoogeography of the freshwater fishes of Iran. In Proceedings of the Symposium on the Fauna and Zoogeography of the Middle East. Edited by: Krupp F, Schneider W, Kinzelbach R. Weisbaden: Beihefte zum. TAVO A 28; 1987.
  27. Bogutskaya NG. Relationships between species of Abramis, Blicca and Vimba (Cyprinidae). J Ichthyol 1986;26:1-9.
  28. Bogustkaya NG. Petroleuciscus, a new genus for the Leuciscus borysthenicus species group (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Zoosyst Rossica 2002;11:235-237.
  29. Doadrio I, Carmona JA. Phylogenetic overview of the genus Squalius (Actinopterygii, Cyprinidae) in the Iberian Peninsula, with description of two new species. Cybium 2006;30:199-214.
  30. Rüber L, Kottelat M, Tan HH, Ng PKL, Britz R. Evolution of miniaturization and the phylogenetic position of Paedocypris, comprising the world’s smallest vertebrate. BMC Evol Biol 2007;7:38.
  31. Freyhof J, Lieckfeldt D, Bogutskaya NG, Ludwig A. Phylogenetic position of the Dalmatian genus Phoxinellus and description of Delminichthys, new genus, (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Mol Phylogenet Evol 2006; 38: 416-425.
  32. Berg LS. Freshwater fishes of USSR and adjacent countries. Jerusalem: IPST Press 1949; 1-3.
  33. Bogutskaya NG. Leuciscus kurui, a new cyprinid fish from the upper Tigris (Dicle) system. Mitt Hamb Zool Mus Inst 1995;92:149-154.
  34. Durand JD, Tsigenopoulos CS, Unlu E, Berrebi P. Erratum to “Phylogeny and biogeography of the family Cyprinidae in the Middle East inferred from cytochrome b DNA – Evolutionary significance of this region”. Mol Phylogenet Evol 2002;22: 91-100.
  35. Geiger M, Herder F, Monaghan M, Almada V, Barbieri R, Bariche M, Berrebi P, Bohlen J, Casal-Lopez M, Delmastro G, Denys G, Dettai A, Doadrio I, Kalogianni.E, Karst H, Kottelat M, Kovacic M, Laporte M, Lorenzoni M, Marcic Z, Ozulug M, Perdices A, Perea S, Persat H, Porcellotti S, Puzzi C, Robalo J, Sanda R, Schneider M, Slechtova V, Stumboudi M, Walter S, Freyhof J. Spatial heterogeneity in the Mediterranean Biodiversity Hotspot affects barcoding accuracy of its freshwater fishes. Mol Ecol Resour 2014;14:1210-1221.
  36. Ketmaier V, Bianco PG, Cobolli M, Krivokapic M, Caniglia R, De Matthaeis E. Molecular phylogeny of two lineages of Leuciscinae cyprinids (Telestes and Scardinius) from the peri-Mediterranean area based on cytochrome b data. Mol Phylogenet Evol 2004;32:1061-1071.
  37. Kottelat M, Freyhof J. Handbook of European freshwater fishes. Kottelat, Cornol and Freyhof, Berlin 2007; xiv + 646 pp.
  38. Freyhof J, Özulug M. Acanthobrama thisbeae, a new species of bream from southern Anatolia, Turkey (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Ichthyol Explor Freshwat 2014; 25:1-10.
  39. Hatzfeld D, Authemayou C, Vanderbeek P, Bellier O, Lave¢ J, Oveisi B, Tatar M, Tavakoli F, Walpersdorf A, Yamini-fard F. The kinematics of the Zagros Mountains (Iran). Geol Soc Spec Pub 2010;330:19-42.
  40. Agard P, Omrani J, Jolivet L, Mouthereau F. Convergence history across Zagros Iran; constraints from collisional and earlier deformation. IJES 2005; 94: 401–419.
  41. Gholami Z, Esmaeili HR, Erpenbeck Reichenbacher B. Phylogenetic analysis of Aphanius from the endorheic Kor River Basin in the Zagros Mountains, South-western Iran (Teleostei: Cyprinodontiformes: Cyprinodontidae). J Zool Syst Evol Res 2014;52:130-141.
  42. Faghih A, Samani B, Kusky T, Khabazi S, Roshanak R. Geomorphologic assessment of relative tectonic activity in the Maharlou Lake Basin, Zagros Mountains of Iran. Geol J 2012;47:30-40
  43. Keller EA, Pinter N. Active tectonics: earthquakes, uplift, and landscape (second edition): Englewood Cliffs. Prentice Hall, New Jersey 2002; (362 pp.).
  44. Kehl, M. Quaternary climate change in Iran, the state of knowledge. Erdkunde 2009; 63: 1-17.
  45. Ramsey LA, Walker RT, Jackson J. Fold evolution and drainage development in the Zagros Mountains of Fars province, SE Iran. Basin Res 2008; 20: 23-48.
  46. Mouthereau F. Timing of uplift in the Zagros belt/Iranian plateau and accommodation of late Cenozoic Arabia-Eurasia convergence. Geol Mag 2011;148: 726-738.
  47. Homke S, Verge´s J, Garce´s M, Emami H, Karpuz R. Magnetostratigraphy of Miocene–Pliocene Zagros foreland deposits in the front of the Push-e Kush Arc (Lurestan Province, Iran). Earth Planet Sc Lett 2004;225:397-410.
  48. Teimori A, Jawad LA J, Al-Kharusi LH, Al-Mamry JM, Reichenbacher B. Late Pleistocene to Holocene diversification and historical zoogeography of the Arabian killifish (Aphanius dispar) inferred from otolith morphology. Sci Mar 2012;76: 637-645.
  49. Oberlander T. The Zagros Streams. A New Interpretation of Transverse Drainage in an Orogenic Zone. Syracuse Geographical Series, Syracuse University, New York 1965.
  50. Coad BW. Zoogeography of the fishes of the Tigris-Euphrates Basin. Zool Middle East 1996;13:51-70.
  51. Por FD, Dimentman C. Continuity of Messinian biota in the Mediterranean basin. In “Geological Evolution of the Mediterranean Basin” (D. J. Stanley and F. C. Wezel, Eds.), Springer 1989; 545-557.
  52. Berg LS. Zoogeografiya presnovodnykh ryb Perednei Azii [Zoogeography of freshwater fish of the Near East]. Uchenye Zapiski leningradskogo gosudarstvennogo Universiteta Seriya Geograficheskikh Nauk 1940;3:3-31.
  53. Banarescu P. Position zoogéographique de l'ichthyofaune d'eau douce d'Asie occidentale. Cybium 1977;3:35-55.
  54. Al-Rudainy AJ. Atlas of Iraqi Fresh Water Fishes. Ministry of the Environment, Baghdad. 2008; 107 pp. In English and Arabic.
  55. Coad BW. Freshwater Fishes of Iraq. Pensoft Publishers, Sofia-Moscow. 294 pp., 16 colour plates. ISBN 978-954-642-530-0, Pensoft Series Faunistica 2010; 93, ISSN 1312-0174.
  56. Esmaeili HR, Coad BW, Mehraban H, Masoudi M, Khaefi R, Abbasi K, Mostafavi H, Vatandoust S. An updated checklist of fishes of the Caspian Sea basin of Iran with a note on their zoogeography. Iran J Ichthyol 2014;1:152-184.
  57. Sarnthein M. Sediments and history of the postglacial transgression in the Persian Gulf and Northwest Gulf of Oman. Mar Geol 1972;12:245-266.
  58. Lambeck K. Shoreline reconstructions for the Persian Gulf since the last glacial maximum. Earth Planet Sc Lett 1996;142:43-57.
  59. Teller JT, Glennie KW, Lancaster N, Singhvi A K. Calcareous dunes of the United Arab Emirates and Noah’s flood: the postglacial reflooding of the Persian Gulf. Quat Int 2000;68-71:297-308.
  60. Tsigenopoulos CS. “Phyloge´graphie du genre Barbus (Te´-le´oste´ens, Cyprinidae) dans la re´gion pe´ri-me´diterrane´ennes. Reconstitutiondes grandes ligne´es de migration au moyen des marqueurs nucle´aires et mitochondriaux,” The`se, Univ. Montpellier II, France 1999.
  61. Smith G R, Dowling TE, Gobalet K, Lugaski T, Shiozawa D, and Evans P. Biogeography and rates of evolution of Great Basin fishes. In “The Great Basin: Cenozoic Geology and Biogeography” (R. Hershler and D. Curry, Eds.), Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (1999).
  62. Bianco PG. Potential role of the palaeohistory of the Mediterranean and Paratethys basins on the early dispersal of Euro-Mediterranean freshwater fishes. Ichthyol Explor Freshwat 1990;1:167-184