Onychostoma barbatulum and O. alticorpus, two primarily freshwater cyprinid fish, have similar morphological characters and partially overlapping ecological habitats. In order to explore the genetic differences between these two species, chromosomal characteristics and genetic variations were examined by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) of 5S rDNA and cytochrome (Cyt) b gene analysis. Ten specimens of O. barbatulum and O. alticorpus were collected from the Nanzihsian Stream in southern Taiwan. FISH revealed that the 5S rDNA loci of O. barbatulum and O. alticorpus were found at a pericentromeric and subtelomeric position, respectively, in a pair of submetacentric chromosomes. Cyt b genes were amplified and sequenced from five individuals of each species. Intraspecific genetic distances ranged from 0.001-0.004 in O. barbatulum and from 0.001-0.006 in O. alticorpus. Genetic distances between these two species ranged from 0.132-0.142. The phylogenetic tree showed these two species are not sister species. In conclusion, FISH cytogenetic information and Cyt b gene analyses indicated that these two species have significantly different genetic characteristics; nevertheless, their morphological similarities may be due to environmental adaptation.
Keywords: Taiwan; adaptation; cyprinid; cytogenetic; genetic distance.