Freshwater biodiversity is under ever increasing threat from human activities, and its conservation and management require a sound knowledge of species-level taxonomy. Cryptic biodiversity is a common feature for aquatic systems, particularly in Australia, where recent genetic assessments suggest that the actual number of freshwater fish species may be considerably higher than currently listed. The freshwater blackfishes (genus Gadopsis) are an iconic group in south-eastern Australia and, in combination with their broad, naturally divided distribution and biological attributes that might limit dispersal, as well as ongoing taxonomic uncertainty, they comprise an ideal study group for assessing cryptic biodiversity. We used a multigene molecular assessment including both nuclear (51 allozyme loci; two S7 introns) and matrilineal markers (cytb) to assess species boundaries and broad genetic substructure within freshwater blackfishes. Range-wide examination demonstrates the presence of at least six candidate species across two nominal taxa, Gadopsis marmoratus and Gadopsis bispinosus. Phylogeographical patterns often aligned to purported biogeographical provinces but occasionally reflected more restricted and unexpected relationships. We highlight key issues with taxonomy, conservation, and management for a species group in a highly modified region.
Hammer, M., UNMACK, P., Adams, M., Raadik, T., & Johnson, J. (2014). A multigene molecular assessment of cryptic biodiversity in the iconic freshwater blackfishes (Teleostei: Percichthyidae: Gadopsis) of south-eastern Australia. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 111(3), 521-540. https://doi.org/10.1111/bij.12222