Hypostomus shows wide morphological patterns, corroborated by great chromosomal diversity that has suggested the existence of new species, especially from small tributaries. Cytogenetic analysis has contributed to estimate a cryptic diversity providing important data for taxonomic and evolutionary studies. Cytogenetic techniques were carried out on species from a small tributary of Ivaí River, Keller River (upper Paraná River basin): Hypostomus aff. ancistroides, Hypostomus topavae, and Hypostomus aff. hermanni that presented 2n = 68, 80, and 72 chromosomes, respectively. Each species showed the same diploid number from previous descriptions for other populations but different karyotype formulas, and Hypostomus aff. ancistroides had a ZZ/ZW sex chromosome system. Multiple NORs (nucleolar organizer regions) and pericentromeric heterochromatin blocks were found in the three species. Moreover, each of them showed species-specific heterochromatins. Multiple 5S rDNA sites were detected in Hypostomus aff. ancistroides and H. topavae, whereas Hypostomus aff. hermanni had only one pair bearing these sites. In addition to the divergence in the karyotype formulas, chromosomal markers used showed karyotype differences in the three species related to other respective populations studied. Furthermore, the first description of a ZZ/ZW system for Hypostomus aff. ancistroides reinforces the hypothesis that it may correspond to a species complex and yet, confirming an unknown cryptic diversity existent in small rivers.
Keywords: Hypostomus ancistroides; Hypostomus hermanni; Hypostomus topavae; chromosomal evolution; rDNA; sex chromosome system.