The weakness of physical barriers in the marine environment and the dispersal potential of fish populations have been invoked as explanations of the apparent karyotype stasis of marine Percomorpha, but several taxa remain poorly studied cytogenetically. To increase the chromosomal data in this fish group, we analyzed cytogenetically three widespread Atlantic species from distinct families: Chaetodipterus faber Broussonet, 1782 (Ephippidae), Lutjanus synagris Linnaeus, 1758 (Lutjanidae) and Rypticus randalli Courtenay, 1967 (Serranidae). The three species shared a karyotype composed of 2n=48 acrocentric chromosomes, single nucleolus organizer regions (NORs) and reduced amounts of centromeric heterochromatin. A single NOR-bearing pair was identified in all species by physical mapping of 18S rDNA while non-syntenic 5S rRNA genes were located at centromeric region of a single pair. The similar karyotypic macrostructure observed in unrelated groups of Percomorpharia reinforces the conservative karyoevolution of marine teleosteans. Nonetheless, the species could be differentiated based on the pair bearing ribosomal cistrons, revealing the importance of microstructural analyses in species with symmetric and stable karyotypes.
Keywords: Cytotaxonomy; Ephippiformes; South Atlantic; ribosomal genes.