DNA Barcoding and Microsatellites Help Species Delimitation and Hybrid Identification in Endangered Galaxiid Fishes

The conservation of data deficient species is often hampered by inaccurate species delimitation. The galaxiid fishes Aplochiton zebra and Aplochiton taeniatus are endemic to Patagonia (and for A. zebra the Falkland Islands), where they are threatened by invasive salmonids. Conservation of Aplochiton is complicated because species identification is hampered by the presence of resident as well as migratory ecotypes that may confound morphological discrimination. We used DNA barcoding (COI, cytochrome b) and a new developed set of microsatellite markers to investigate the relationships between A. zebra and A. taeniatus and to assess their distributions and relative abundances in Chilean Patagonia and the Falkland Islands. Results from both DNA markers were 100% congruent and revealed that phenotypic misidentification was widespread, size-dependent, and highly asymmetric. While all the genetically classified A. zebra were correctly identified as such, 74% of A. taeniatus were incorrectly identified as A. zebra, the former species being more widespread than previously thought. Our results reveal, for the first time, the presence in sympatry of both species, not only in Chilean Patagonia, but also in the Falkland Islands, where A. taeniatus had not been previously described. We also found evidence of asymmetric hybridisation between female A. taeniatus and male A. zebra in areas where invasive salmonids have become widespread. Given the potential consequences that species misidentification and hybridisation can have for the conservation of these endangered species, we advocate the use of molecular markers in order to reduce epistemic uncertainty.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Last Updated April 28, 2021, 11:14 (PDT)
Created April 28, 2021, 11:13 (PDT)
Region Falkland Islands
Language eng
Topic Category Biota; flora and/or fauna in natural environment
Temporal Extent Start 2008-07-20
Temporal Extent End 2009-08-20
Dataset Reference Date 2012
Lineage Primary data collected by the author through surveying. 15 sites were visited and individuals were collected by electrofishing, individuals were identified to species level on site using morphological measurements of body depth, relative size of the head and the caudal peduncle in relation to body length and body colouration/pigmentation. Fin clips were preserved in 95% ethanol and stored at 4°C for genetic analysis.
West Longitude 60.682
South Latitude -52.891
East Longitude -59.007
North Latitude -51.485
Spatial Reference System WGS84
Responsible Organisation Name Hidden (personal data protection)
Contact Mail Address Hidden (personal data protection)
Responsible Party Role Hidden (personal data protection)
Access Limitations Restricted, send data request to point of contact
Use Constraints Restricted
Resource Reference Vanhaecke, D., De Leaniz, C.G., Gajardo, G., Young, K., Sanzana, J., Orellana, G., Fowler, D., Howes, P., Monzon-Arguello, C. and Consuegra, S., 2012. DNA barcoding and microsatellites help species delimitation and hybrid identification in endangered galaxiid fishes. PloS one, 7(3), p.e32939.
Data Format pdf, csv
Update Frequency survey completed
Accuracy n/a
Resource Type Dataset
Original Title Hidden (internal use only)
Metadata Date 2021-04-20
Metadata Point of Contact datamanager@saeri.ac.fk
Contact Consent Contact details hidden

Dataset extent

Map tiles by Stamen Design, under CC BY 3.0. Data by OpenStreetMap, under CC BY SA.