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Aphanius arakensis, a new species of tooth-carp (Actinopterygii, Cyprinodontidae) from the endorheic Namak Lake basin in Iran

Teimori, Azad; Esmaeili, Hamid; Gholami, Zeinab; Zarei, Neda; Reichenbacher, Bettina

A new species of tooth-carp, Aphanius arakensis sp. n., is described from the Namak Lake basin in Iran. The new species is distinguished by the congeners distributed in Iran by the following combination of characters: 10–12 anal fin rays, 28–32 lateral line scales, 10–13 caudal peduncle scales, 8–10 gill rakers, 12–19, commonly 15–16, clearly defined flank bars in males, a more prominent pigmentation along the flank added by relatively big blotches in the middle and posterior flank segments in females, a short but high antirostrum of the otolith that has a wide excisura, and a ventral rim with some small, drop-like processes, and 19 molecular apomorphies (17 transitions, two transversions) in the cytochrome b gene. It was suggested based on the phylogenetic analysis that the new species is sister to A. sophiae from the Kor River and that A. farsicus from the Maharlu Lake basin is sister to A. arakensis plus A. sophiae. A noticeable feature of the Aphanius diversity in Iran is the conservatism of the external morphology as well as morphometric and meristic characters, while distinctive differences are present in genetic characters, otolith morphology, and male color pattern. Transformation of the latter was probably driven by sexual selection.

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