African Journal of Aquatic Science

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A DNA barcoding study of seven cichlid species from southern Africa reveals their phylogenetic relationships

F.H. van der Bank


This study of three Namibian fish species (two endemic Thoracochromis and Tilapia guinasana) and Pseudocrenilabrus philander reveals their monophyly. These species (and Sandelia capensis) have never been DNA barcoded and their phylogenetic relationships with two Tilapia species is shown. Average K2P intraspecies distances between this fish DNA barcoding study ranged from zero (Thoracochromis albolaris) to 10% for the outgroup. There are approximately 17 Thoracochromis (Greenwood 1979) species in Africa, with only two in southern Africa (Skelton 2001). Both occur in the Cunene River System (at the border of Angola and Namibia). Thoracochromis albolaris (Trewavas and Thys van den Audenaerde 1969) – abbreviated as Tha – prefers rocky areas, whereas Thoracochromis buysi (Penrith 1970) – Thb – prefers sandy habitats. Pseudocrenilabrus philander (Weber 1897) – Pp – is a widely distributed species in Africa (Skelton 2001). Tilapia guinasana Trewavas 1936 – Tg – is endemic to Namibia, endangered and confined to Lake Guinas. These are very colourful fish (e.g. Tg varies in colour combinations from white to blue, yellow, black, olive green and some even have red fins).

Keywords: cytochrome oxidase1 gene, divergence, old world cichlids, genetics, mitochondrial data

AJOL African Journals Online