Systematics of the subfamily Danioninae (Teleostei: Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae)

Kevin L. Tang, Mary K. Agnew, M. Vincent Hirt, Tetsuya Sado, Leah M. Schneider, Jörg Freyhof, Zohrah Sulaiman, Ernst Swartz, Chavalit Vidthayanon, Masaki Miya, Kenji Saitoh, Andrew M. Simons, Robert M. Wood, Richard L. Mayden

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110 Scopus citations


The members of the cyprinid subfamily Danioninae form a diverse and scientifically important group of fishes, which includes the zebrafish, Danio rerio. The diversity of this assemblage has attracted much scientific interest but its monophyly and the relationships among its members are poorly understood. The phylogenetic relationships of the Danioninae are examined herein using sequence data from mitochondrial cytochrome b, mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I, nuclear opsin, and nuclear recombination activating gene 1. A combined data matrix of 4117. bp for 270 taxa was compiled and analyzed. The resulting topology supports some conclusions drawn by recent studies on the group and certain portions of the traditional classification, but our results also contradict key aspects of the traditional classification. The subfamily Danioninae is not monophyletic, with putative members scattered throughout Cyprinidae. Therefore, we restrict Danioninae to the monophyletic group that includes the following genera: Amblypharyngodon, Barilius, Cabdio, Chela, Chelaethiops, Danio, Danionella, Devario (including Inlecypris), Esomus, Horadandia, Laubuca, Leptocypris, Luciosoma, Malayochela, Microdevario, Microrasbora, Nematabramis, Neobola, Opsaridium, Opsarius, Paedocypris, Pectenocypris, Raiamas, Rasbora (including Boraras and Trigonostigma), Rasboroides, Salmostoma, Securicula, and Sundadanio. This Danioninae sensu stricto is divided into three major lineages, the tribes Chedrini, Danionini, and Rasborini, where Chedrini is sister to a Danionini-Rasborini clade. Each of these tribes is monophyletic, following the restriction of Danioninae. The tribe Chedrini includes a clade of exclusively African species and contains several genera of uncertain monophyly (Opsarius, Raiamas, Salmostoma). Within the tribe Rasborini, the species-rich genus Rasbora is rendered non-monophyletic by the placement of two monophyletic genera, Boraras and Trigonostigma, hence we synonymize those two genera with Rasbora. In the tribe Danionini, the miniature genus Danionella is recovered as the sister group of Danio, with D. nigrofasciatus sister to D. rerio.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-214
Number of pages26
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010


  • COI
  • Chedrini
  • Cyprinidae
  • Cypriniformes
  • Cytb
  • Cytochrome b
  • Cytochrome c oxidase I
  • Danio
  • Danioninae
  • Danionini
  • Nomenclature
  • Phylogeny
  • RAG1
  • Rasborinae
  • Rasborini
  • Rhodopsin
  • Systematics
  • Taxonomy

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    Tang, K. L., Agnew, M. K., Hirt, M. V., Sado, T., Schneider, L. M., Freyhof, J., Sulaiman, Z., Swartz, E., Vidthayanon, C., Miya, M., Saitoh, K., Simons, A. M., Wood, R. M., & Mayden, R. L. (2010). Systematics of the subfamily Danioninae (Teleostei: Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 57(1), 189-214.