New records of the occurrence of Megaleporinus macrocephalus () (Characiformes, Anostomidae) from the basins of the Itapecuru and Mearim rivers in Maranhão, Northeastern Brazil

Braz J Biol. 2021 Mar 5;82:e232868. doi: 10.1590/1519-6984.232868. eCollection 2021.

Abstract

The "piaussu", Megaleporinus macrocephalus is an anostomatid fish species native to the basin of the Paraguay River, in the Pantanal biome of western Brazil. However, this species has now been recorded in a number of other drainages, including those of the upper Paraná, Uruguay, Jacuí, Doce, Mucuri, and Paraíba do Sulrivers. This study presents two new records of the occurrence of M. macrocephalus, in the basins of the Itapecuru and Mearim rivers in the state of Maranhão, in the Brazilian Northeast. The piaussu is a large-bodied fish of commercial interest that is widely raised on fish farms, and its occurrence in the Itapecuru and Mearim rivers is likely the result of individuals escaping from fish tanks when they overflow during the rainy season. Morphological analyses and sequences of the Cytochrome Oxidase Subunit I (COI) gene confirmed the taxonomic identification of the specimens as M. macrocephalus. The COI sequences were 99.66% similar to those of M. macrocephalus deposited in the BOLDSystems database. These records extend the known distribution of M. macrocephalus to the basins of the Itapecuru and Mearim rivers in the Brazilian Northeast, highlighting a new case of introduction of exotic fish species into Brazilian river basins.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brazil
  • Characiformes* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Paraguay
  • Rivers*
  • Uruguay