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Families of Cobitoidea









Morphological and molecular evidence from CToL corroborate the traditional suborder classification: monophyly of the Cyprinoidea (carp, minnows, shiners) and Cobitoidea (loaches, suckers, algae eaters), with the exception of Paedocypris – the world’s smallest vertebrate taxon, that through CToL studies has been removed from Cyprinoidea to a new superfamily. Within Cobitoidea multiple lines of evidence are converging to support the recognition of traditional Catostomidae, Gyrinocheilidae, Botiidae, Cobitidae, Nemacheilidae, and Balitoridae, and the new families Vaillantelidae and Ellopostomidae (Bohlen & Šlechtová 2009, Chen et al. in press).
Cyprinoidea has been equivalent to the family Cyprinidae; however, CToL phylogenies provide support for the elevation of some subfamilies to families and the erection of new families. As in Siluriformes with 38 families, the disarticulation of Cyprinoidea into smaller monophyletic families will more clearly translate the relationships of the 2,701 cyprinoid species. A review of the history of the classification of these fishes by Conway et al. (in press) notes the historic inconsistency in the allocation of taxa to suprageneric groupings. These conclusions are based on the following studies supported by CToL (alphabetical: Bohlen & Šlechtová 2009; Bufalino & Mayden in press a, in press b, Chen & Mayden 2009; Chen et al. 2008, 2009; Conway et al. 2008; He et al. 2008a,b; Mayden & Chen in press; Mayden et al. 2007, 2008, 2009; Rüber et al. 2007; Saitoh et al. 2006; Simons & Gidmark in press; Šlechtová et al. 2006, 2007; Strange & Mayden 2009; Schönhuth et al. 2008; K. Tang submitted; Q. Tang et al. 2009; Yang & Mayden in press a, submitted; Xuzhen et al. 2004).


Bohlen, J., and V. Šlechtová. 2009. Phylogenetic position of the fish genus Ellopostoma (Teleostei: Cypriniformes) using molecular genetic data. Ichthyol. Explor.   Freshwaters 20 (2):157-162.

Bufalino, A., and R. L. Mayden. In press a. Phylogenetic relationships of North American phoxinins (Actinopterygii: Cypriniformes: Leuciscidae) as inferred from S7 nuclear DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

Bufalino, A., and R. L. Mayden. In press b. Molecular Phylogenetics of North American phoxinins (Actinopterygii: Leuciscidae) based on RAG1 and S7 nuclear DNA sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

Chen, W.-J, and R. L. Mayden. 2009. Molecular systematics of the Cyprinoidea (Teleostei: Cypriniformes), the world’s largest clade of freshwater fishes: Further evidence from six nuclear genes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 52:544-549

Chen, W.-J., L. Lheknim, and R. L. Mayden. 2009. Molecular systematics of the Cobitoidea (Teleostei: Cypriniformes) revisited and phylogenetic position of enigmatic loach Ellopostoma Vaillant 1902: Evidence from six nuclear genes. Journal of Fish Biology 75:9 (December 2009).

Chen, W.-J., M. Miya, K. Saitoh, and R. L. Mayden. 2008. Phylogenetic utility of two existing and four novel nuclear gene loci in reconstructing tree of life of ray-finned fishes: the order Cypriniformes (Ostariophysi) as a case study. Gene 423:125-134.

Chen et al. in press?

Conway, K. W., W-. J. Chen, and R. L. Mayden. 2008. The “celestial pearl danio” is a miniature Danio (s.s) (Ostariophysi: Cyprinidae): evidence from morphology and molecules. Zootaxa. 1686: 1-28.

Conway, K. W., M.V. Hirt, L. Yang, R. L. Mayden & A. M. Simons. In press. Cypriniformes: Systematics and Paleontology. In: H-P, Schultz, M. V. H. Wilson & J. S. Nelson (eds):Origin and Phylogenetic Interrelationships of Teleosts. Verlag Dr. Freidrich Feil, München.

He, S., Mayden, R. L., Wang, X., W. Wang, and Y. Chen. 2008a. Molecular Phylogenetics of the Family Cyprinidae (Actinopterygii: Cypriniformes) as Evidenced by S7 Ribosomal Gene Sequences: The First Nuclear Gene Evidence for the Evolution and Classification of This Diverse Family of Fishes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 46:818–829

He, S., X. Gu., R. L. Mayden, W. J. Chen, K. W. Conway, and Y. Y. Chen. 2008b. Phylogenetic position of the enigmatic genus Psilorhynchus (Ostariophysi: Cypriniformes): Evidence from the mitochondrial genome. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 47:419–425.

Mayden, R. L., and W.-J. Chen. In press. The world’s smallest vertebrate species of the Genus Paedocypris: A new family of freshwater fishes and the sister group to the world’s most diverse clade of freshwater fishes (Teleostei: Cypriniformes). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution

Mayden, R. L., K. W. Conway, K. Tang, J. Freyhof, S. Chamberlain, M. Haskins, L. Schneider, M. Sudkamp, R. M. Wood, M. Agnew, A. Bufalino, Z. Sulaiman, M. Miya, K. Saitoh, S. He. 2007. Phylogenetic Relationships of Danio within the Order Cypriniformes: A Framework for Comparative and Evolutionary Studies of a Model Species. Journal of Experimental Zoology, Molecular Development and Evolution 308B:642-654.

Mayden, R. L., K. L. Tang, R. M. Wood, W.-J. Chen, M. K. Agnew, K. W. Conway, L. Yang, J. Li, X. Wang, K. Saitoh, M. Miya, S. He, H. Liu, Y. Chen, and M. Nishida. 2008. Inferring The Tree of Life of The Order Cypriniformes, The Earth’s Most Diverse Clade of Freshwater Fishes: Implications of Varied Taxon and Character Sampling. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 46(3):424-438.

Mayden, R. L., W.-J. Chen, H. L. Bart, M. H. Doosey, A. M. Simons, K. L. Tang, R. M. Wood, M. K. Agnew, L. Yang, M. V. Hirt, M. D. Clements, K. Saitoh, T. Sado, M. Miya, M. Nishida. 2009. Reconstructing the phylogenetic relationships of the earth’s most diverse clade of freshwater fishes—order Cypriniformes (Actinopterygii: Ostariophysi): A case study using multiple nuclear loci and the mitochondrial genome. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 51:500–514

Rüber, L., M. Kottelat, H. Hui Tan, P.K. Ng, R. Britz. 2007. Evolution of miniaturization and the phylogenetic position of Paedocypris, comprising the world’s smallest vertebrate. BMC Evolutionary Biology 7:38.

Saitoh, K., T. Sado, R. L. Mayden, N. Hanzawa, K. Nakamura, M. Nishida & M. Miya. 2006. Mitogenomic evolution and interrelationships of the Cypriniformes (Actinopterygii: Ostariophysi): The first evidence towards resolution of higher-level relationships of the World’s largest freshwater-fish clade based on 59 whole mitogenome sequences. Journal of Molecular Evolution 2006:1-16.

Schönhuth, I. Doadrio, O. Dominguez-Dominguez, D. M. Hillis, and R. L. Mayden. 2008. Molecular evolution of southern North American Cyprinidae (Actinopterygii), with the description of the new genus Tampichthys from Central Mexico. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 47: 729-756.

Simons, A. M. and N. J. Gidmark, In press. Systematics and phylogenetic relationships of the Cypriniformes. – In: Grande, T. (ed). A Comprehensive Review of Gonorynchiformes and of Ostariophysan Relationships.

Šlechtová, V., Bohlen, J., J. Freyhof, and P. Ráb. 2006. Molecular phylogeny of the Southeast Asian freshwater fish family Botiidae (Teleostei: Cobitoidea) and the origin of polyploidy in their evolution. – Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 39: 529-541.

Šlechtová, V., Bohlen, J. & H. H. Tan. 2007. Families of Cobitoidea (Teleostei; Cypriniformes) as revealed from nuclear genetic data and the position of the mysterious genera from Barbucca, Psilorhynchus, Serpenticobitis and Vaillantella. – Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 44: 1358-1365.

Strange, R. M., and R. L. Mayden. 2009. Phylogenetic Relationships and a Revised Taxonomy for North American Cyprinids Currently Assigned to Phoxinus (Osteichthyes: Cyprinidae). Copeia 2009 (3):494-501.

Tang, K., W. Conway, M. K. Agnew, W.-J. Chen, M. V. Hirt, T. Sado, L. M. Schneider, J. Freyhof, E. Swartz, C. Vidthayanon, H. L. Bart, M. Miya, K. Saitoh, A. M. Simons, R. M. Wood, and R. L. Mayden. Submitted. Systematics of the subfamily Danioninae (Teleostei: Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

Tang, Q., A. Getahun, and H. Liu. 2009. Multiple In-to-Africa dispersals of labeonin fishes (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) revealed by molecular phylogenetic analysis. Hydrobiologia.

Yang, L. and R. L. Mayden. In press. Phylogenetic Relationships, Subdivision, and Biogeography of the Cyprinid Tribe Labeonini (sensu Rainboth, 1991) (Teleostei: Cypriniformes), with Comments on the Implications of Lips and Associated Structures in the Labeonin Classification. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

Yang, L. and R. L. Mayden. Submitted. Molecular phylogeny of the cyprinid subfamily Cyprininae (Teleostei: Cypriniformes), with emphasis on the tribe Cyprinini sensu stricto and its relationship with the tribe Barbini. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

Xuzhen Wang, Huanzhang Liu, Shunping He, Yiyu Chen. 2004. Sequence analysis of cytochrome b gene indicates that East Asian group of cyprinid subfamily Leuciscinae (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) evolved independently. Progress in Natural Science 14:132.


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© 2010 ACSI & CToL

This is the primary page opening to two very large research initiatives on Cypriniformes fishes: the All Cypriniformes Species Inventory (ACSI-2), funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation DEB-1022720 (Dr. Lawrence M. Page, University of Florida), DEB-1023403 (Dr. Jonathan Armbruster, Auburn University), and DEB-1021840 (Dr. Richard L. Mayden, Saint Louis University )and The Cypriniformes Tree of Life (CToL), funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation EF-0431326 (Drs. R. L. Mayden, R. M. Wood, and N. Aspinwall). You can learn more about both of these international-scale studies using the links available on this site.