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South American freshwater ichthyofauna is taxonomically the most diverse on the planet, yet its diversity is still vastly underestimated. The Amazon basin alone holds more than half of this diversity. The evidence of this underestimation comes from the backlog of morphologically distinct, yet undescribed forms deposited in museum collections, and from DNA-based inventories which consistently identify large numbers of divergent lineages within even well-studied species groups. In the present study, we investigated lineage diversity within the Geophagus sensu stricto species group. To achieve these objectives, we analyzed 337 individuals sampled from 77 locations within and outside the Amazon basin representing 10 nominal and six morphologically distinct but undescribed species. We sequenced the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and delimited lineages using four different single-locus species discovery methods (mPTP-15 lineages; LocMin-14 lineages; bGMYC-18 lineages; and GMYC-30 lineages). The six morphologically distinct but undescribed species were also delimited by the majority of the species discovery methods. Five of these lineages are restricted to a single collection site or a watershed and their habitats are threatened by human activities such as deforestation, agricultural activities and construction of hydroelectric plants. Our results also highlight the importance of combining DNA and morphological data in biodiversity assessment studies especially in taxonomically diverse tropical biotas.


PMID: 34909270




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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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