Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Type: Article
Published: 2023-12-22
Page range: 545-562
Abstract views: 1313
PDF downloaded: 13

Molecular delimitation of the seasonal killifishes of the Hypsolebias antenori species group (Cyprinodontiformes, Rivulidae), with description of two new species from the Caatinga coastal basins, northeastern Brazil

Laboratório de Ictiologia Sistemática e Evolutiva; Departamento de Botânica e Zoologia; Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte; Lagoa Nova; 59078-970 Natal; RN; Brazil
Laboratório de Ecologia Aplicada e Conservação; Departamento de Sistemática e Ecologia; Centro de Ciências Exatas e da Natureza; Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Biológicas; Universidade Federal da Paraíba; Campus I; Cidade Universitária; 58051-900 João Pessoa; PB; Brazil
Base Avançada do Centro Nacional de Pesquisa e Conservação de Cavernas (CECAV) no Rio Grande do Norte; Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade (ICMBio). Av. Alexandrino de Alencar 1399; Tirol; 59015-350; Natal; RN; Brazil
Laboratório de Ictiologia Sistemática e Evolutiva; Departamento de Botânica e Zoologia; Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte; Lagoa Nova; 59078-970 Natal; RN; Brazil
Pisces Endangered species Environmental impacts Integrative taxonomy Neotropical freshwater fishes São Francisco Interbasin water transfer


Hypsolebia antenori is a seasonal killifish considered to be broadly distributed along the Caatinga’s basins of northeastern Brazil, with records in the coastal drainages of the rio Pacoti, rio Jaguaribe, córrego Virgílio and rio Apodi-Mossoró basins. Based on morphological characters and molecular phylogenetic reconstructions, it was possible to diagnose two new species and restrict H. antenori to the rio Jaguaribe basin. Hypsolebias gongobira new species is described from a temporary pool in the rio Pacoti basin in Ceará State, in syntopy with the species threatened H. longignatus. Hypsolebias bonita new species occurs in the floodplains of the rio Apodi-Mossoró basin and in the córrego Virgílio microbasin in the Furna Feia National Park, in Rio Grande do Norte State. We also discuss the conservation status of these new species and how the São Francisco Interbasin Water transfer, and the agricultural and urban expansion in the semiarid may be adversely affecting these seasonal killifishes.



  1. Abrantes, Y.G., Medeiros, L.S., Bennemann, A.B.A., Bento, D.M., Teixeira, F.K., Rezende, C.F., Ramos, T.P.A. & Lima, S.M.Q. (2020) Geographic distribution and conservation of seasonal killifishes (Cyprinodontiformes, Rivulidae) from the Mid-Northeastern Caatinga ecoregion, northeastern Brazil. Neotropical Biology and Conservation, 15 (3), 301–315.
  2. Abrantes, Y.G., Bennemann, A.B.A., Lustosa-Costa, S.Y., Bento, D.D.M., Ramos, T.P.A. & Lima, S.M.Q. (2023) Diversity and conservation of fishes from karstic areas of the Jandaíra Formation in the Brazilian semiarid. Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia, 63, e202363011.
  3. Bouckaert, R., Vaughan, T.G., Barido-Sottani, J., Duchêne, S., Fourment, M., Gavryushkina, A. & Drummond, A.J. (2019) BEAST 2.5: An advanced software platform for Bayesian evolutionary analysis. PLoS Computational Biology, 15 (4), e1006650.
  4. Britzke, R., Nielsen, D.T. & Oliveira, C. (2016) Description of two new species of annual fishes of the Hypsolebias antenori species group (Cyprinodontiformes: Rivulidae), from Northeast Brazil. Zootaxa, 4114 (2), 123–138.
  5. Costa, W.J.E.M. (1995) Pearl killifishes: The Cynolebiatinae. Systematics and Biogeography of a Neotropical annual fish subfamily (Cyprinodontiformes: Rivulidae). TFH, Neptune City, 128 pp.
  6. Costa, W.J.E.M. (2002) Peixes anuais brasileiros: diversidade e conservação. Editora UFPR, Curitiba, 238 pp.
  7. Costa, W.J.E.M. (2006) Descriptive morphology and phylogenetic relationships among species of the Neotropical annual killifish genera Nematolebias and Simpsonichthys (Cyprinodontiformes: Aplocheiloidei: Rivulidae). Neotropical Ichthyology, 4, 1–26.
  8. Costa, W.J.E.M. (2007) Taxonomic revision of the seasonal South American killifish genus Simpsonichthys (Teleostei: Cyprinodontiformes: Aplocheiloidei: Rivulidae). Zootaxa, 1669 (1), 1–134.
  9. Costa, W.J.E.M. (2008) Simpsonichthys longignatus, a new seasonal killifish of the S. flammeus group from the Pacoti River basin, northeastern Brazil (Cyprinodontiformes: Rivulidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 19 (2), 155–159.
  10. Costa, W.J.E.M. (2011) Hypsolebias nudiorbitatus, a new seasonal killifish from the Caatinga of northeastern Brazil, Itapicuru River basin (Cyprinodontiformes: Rivulidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 22 (3), 221–226.
  11. Costa, W.J.E.M., Amorim, P.F. & Bragança, P.H.N. (2014) Species limits and phylogenetic relationships of red-finned cryptic species of the seasonal killifish genus Hypsolebias from the Brazilian semi-arid Caatinga (Teleostei: Cyprinodontiformes: Rivulidae). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 52, 52–58.
  12. Costa, W.J., Amorim, P.F. & Mattos, J.L.O. (2018) Synchronic historical patterns of species diversification in seasonal aplocheiloid killifishes of the semi-arid Brazilian Caatinga. Plos One, 13 (2), e0193021.
  13. Darriba, D., Taboada, G. L., Doallo, R. & Posada, D. (2012) jModelTest 2: more models, new heuristics and parallel computing. Nature Methods, 9 (8), 772–772.
  14. Folmer, O., Hoeh, W.R., Black, M.B. & Vrijenhoek, R.C. (1994) Conserved primers for PCR amplification of mitochondrial DNA from different invertebrate phyla. Molecular Marine Biology and Biotechnology, 3 (5), 294–299.
  15. Fujisawa, T. & Barraclough, T.G. (2013) Delimiting species using single-locus data and the Generalized Mixed Yule Coalescent approach: a revised method and evaluation on simulated data sets. Systematic Biology, 62 (5), 707–724.
  16. Fricke, R., Eschmeyer, W.N. & Fong, J.D. (2023) Eschmeyer’s catalog of fishes: genera/speciesbyfamily/subfamily. Electronic Version. Avaliable from: (accessed 21 November 2023)
  17. Hoedeman, J.J. (1958) The frontal scalation pattern in some groups of tooth carps (Pisces-Cyprinodontiformes). Bulletin of Aquatic Biology, 1 (3), 23–28.
  18. Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade [ICMBio] (2018) Livro Vermelho da Fauna Brasileira Ameaçada de Extinção. Vol. VI—Peixes. ICMBio, Brasília, 1234 pp.
  19. International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN] (2022) Standards and petitions subcommittee. Guidelines for using the IUCN Red List categories and criteria. Version 15 [Internet]. Available from: (accessed 4 December 2023)
  20. Kumar, S., Stecher, G. & Tamura, K. (2016) MEGA7: molecular evolutionary genetics analysis version 7.0 for bigger datasets. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 33 (7), 1870–1874.
  21. Lanés, L.E.K., Reichard, M., de Moura, R.G., Godoy, R.S. & Maltchik, L. (2018) Environmental predictors for annual fish assemblages in subtropical grasslands of South America: the role of landscape and habitat characteristics. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 101, 963–977.
  22. Lima, S.M.Q., Ramos, T.P.A., Silva, M.J. & Rosa, R.S. (2017) Diversity, distribution, and conservation of the Caatinga fishes: advances and challenges. In: Silva, J.M.C., Leal, I.R. & Tabarelli, M. (Eds.), Caatinga: the largest tropical dry forest region in South America. Springer, pp. 97–131.
  23. Mello, F.P. (2023) Guerreiros do sol: violência e banditismo no Nordeste do Brasil. Cepe editora, Recife, 544 pp.
  24. Myers, G.S. (1952) Annual fishes. Aquarium Journal, 23, 125–141.
  25. Nielsen, D.T.B., Cruz, J.C. & Baptista, A.C. (2012) A new species of annual fish, Hypsolebias tocantinensis sp. n. (Cyprinodontiformes: Rivulidae) from the rio Tocantins basin, northeastern Brazil. Zootaxa, 3527 (1), 63–71.
  26. Oliveira, J.F., Ramos, T.P.A., Oliveira, V.R.T., Filgueira, R.F. & Peretti, D. (2018) First record of an annual endemic fish from a semiarid environment in northeastern Brazil. Neotropical Biology and Conservation, 13 (3), 249–253.
  27. Rambaut, A., Drummond, A.J., Xie, D., Baele, G. & Suchard, M.A. (2018) Posterior summarization in Bayesian phylogenetics using Tracer 1.7. Systematic Biology, 67 (5), 901–904.
  28. Silva, J.M.C.D., Barbosa, L.C.F., Leal, I.R. & Tabarelli, M. (2017) The Caatinga: understanding the challenges. In: Caatinga: the largest tropical dry forest region in South America. Springer, Cham, pp. 3–19.
  29. Silva, M.J., Ramos, T.P.A., Carvalho, F.R., Brito, M.F., Ramos, R.T., Rosa, R.S. & Lima, S.M.Q. (2020) Freshwater fish richness baseline from the São Francisco Interbasin Water Transfer Project in the Brazilian Semiarid. Neotropical Ichthyology, 18 (4), e200063, 1–25.
  30. Simas, L.A. & Rufino, L. (2019) Flecha no tempo. Mórula Editorial, Rio de Janeiro, 112 pp.
  31. Taylor, W.R. & Van Dyke, G.C. (1985) Revised procedures for staining and clearing small fishes and other vertebrates for bone and cartilage study. Cybium, 9 (2), 107–119.
  32. Thompson, J.D., Higgins, D.G. & Gibson, T.J. (1994) CLUSTAL W: improving the sensitivity of progressive multiple sequence alignment through sequence weighting, position-specific gap penalties and weight matrix choice. Nucleic acids research, 22 (22), 4673–4680.
  33. Tulipano, J. (1973) Cynolebias antenori. Killie Notes. American Killifish Association, 6 (11), 23–24.
  34. Volcan, M.V. & Lanés, L.E.K. (2018) Brazilian killifishes risk extinction. Science, 361 (6400), 340–341.
  35. Zhang, J., Kapli, P., Pavlidis, P. & Stamatakis, A. (2013) A general species delimitation method with applications to phylogenetic placements. Bioinformatics, 29, 2869–2876.