Loricariidae is a diverse group of fish from the neotropical region, occupying a wide variety of freshwater environments. Cytogenetic data have brought important insights into Loricariidae diversity because they help validate undescribed species as well as our understanding of inter- and intraspecific diversity. However, conventional cytogenetic approaches are limited in their ability to detect variability in some lineages, as seen in the Peckoltia clade, owing to their apparent conserved karyotype. Thus, the aim of this work was to map 5S and 18S ribosomal (rDNA) sites in five species of Peckoltia and one species of Ancistomus from the Amazon basin, and discusses the mechanisms of organization and diversification of these clusters. The species analyzed were found to have 2n = 52 and share KF = 38 m-sm +14st-a chromosomes, except Peckoltia vittata with KF = 34 m-sm +18st-a. Extensive variations in the number and location of 5S and 18S rDNA sites were observed among species. These data indicate that inversions are not the most important events in karyotype evolution in this group, and should prove useful in identifying the species studied here. In addition to inversions, transpositions are important evolutionary events that are involved at least in rDNA clusters spreading in Peckoltia and probably in other species of Hypostominae.
Keywords: multigene family; ornamental Amazon fish; repetitive DNA; syntenic genes.