Deep phylogenetic structure has conservation implications for ornate rainbowfish (Melanotaeniidae: Rhadinocentrus ornatus) in Queensland, eastern Australia
The freshwater fish, Rhadinocentrus ornatus Regan, 1914, has a patchy distribution through coastal drainages of Queensland and New South Wales, eastern Australia. Isolated populations of R. ornatus are found on several islands, as well as in a disjunct northern population 350 km from its nearest conspecific population. Deoxyribonucleic acid was extracted and sequenced for the mitochondrial ATPase gene to describe the geographic and genetic subdivision within the species. Four major clades were identified. These clades diverged between two and seven million years ago and so represent long-term divisions and possible units of conservation. There are conservation implications in that the narrow and localised distribution of R. ornatus overlaps with an area of large-scale land clearing, high human population and threats from introduced exotic fish. A particularly high centre of Rhadinocentrus diversity in the Tin Can Bay area of Queensland presents some interesting questions about the evolution of the genus Rhadinocentrus.
Marine and Freshwater Research