First record of Gymnotus henni (Albert, Crampton and Maldonado, 2003) in Panama: phylogenetic position and electric signal characterization

Fernando Alda, Sophie Picq, Luis Fernando De León, Rigoberto González, Henriette Walz, Eldredge Bermingham, Rüdiger Krahe


We present the first record of the weakly electric fish Gymnotus henni in Panama, which also represents the first record of Gymnotus in the Pacific slope of the country. One specimen was collected in a tributary of the Chucunaque River in the Tuira basin. The species showed a monophasic electric organ discharge. Molecular analyses indicated that G. henni from Panama and Colombia are closely related and represent an independent and basal lineage to the Central American G. cylindricus and South American G. carapo groups. Evolutionary and biogeographic implications are discussed.

Full Text:



Albert J.S. and W.G.R. Crampton. 2003. Seven new species of the Neotropical electric fish Gymnotus (Teleostei, Gymnotiformes) with a redescription of G. carapo (Linnaeus). Zootaxa 287: 1-54.

Albert J.S., W.G.R. Crampton, D.H. Thorsen and N.R. Lovejoy. 2004. Phylogenetic systematics and historical biogeography of the Neotropical electric fish Gymnotus (Teleostei: Gymnotidae). Systematics and Biodiversity 2(4): 375-417.

Bermingham E., H. Banford, A.P. Martin and V. Aswani. 1997. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Neotropical Fish Collections; p. 37-38 In L.R. Malabarba (ed.). Neotropical Fish Collections. Porto Alegre: Museu de Ciencias e Tecnologia, PUCRS.

Brochu K. 2011. Molecular phylogenetics of the Neotropical electric knifefish genus Gymnotus (Gymnotidae, Teleostei): Biogeography and signal evolution of the Trans-Andean species. Toronto: University of Toronto.

Crampton W.G.R., J.K. Davis, N.R. Lovejoy and M. Pensky. 2008. Multivariate classification of animal communication signals: A simulation-based comparison of alternative signal processing procedures using electric fishes. Journal of Physiology, Paris 102(4-6): 304-321.

Crampton W.G.R., N.R. Lovejoy and J.C. Waddell. 2011. Reproductive character displacement and signal ontogeny in a sympatric assemblage of electric fishes. Evolution 65(6): 1650-1666.

Guindon S., J.F. Dufayard, V. Lefort, M. Anisimova, W. Hordijk and O. Gascuel. 2010. New algorithms and methods to estimate Maximum- Likelihood phylogenies: assessing the performance of PhyML 3.0. Systematic Biology 59(3): 307-321.

Katoh K., K. Misawa, K. Kuma and T. Miyata. 2002. MAFFT: a novel method for rapid multiple sequence alignment based on fast Fourier transform. Nucleic Acids Research 30(14): 3059-3066.

Katoh K. and H. Toh. 2008. Recent developments in the MAFFT multiple sequence alignment program. Bioinformatics 9(4): 286-298.

Lovejoy N.R., K. Lester, W.G.R. Crampton, F.P.L. Marques and J.S. Albert. 2010. Phylogeny, biogeography, and electric signal evolution of Neotropical knifefishes of the genus Gymnotus (Osteichthyes: Gymnotidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 54: 278-290.

Miller R.R. 1966. Geographic distribution of Central America freshwater fishes. Copeia 1966: 773-802.

Miller R.R. 2005. Freshwater fishes of Mexico. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Moller P. 1995. Electric fishes: history and behavior. New York: Chapman & Hall.

Palumbi S. 1996 Nucleic Acids II: The Polymerase Chain Reaction; p. 205-248 In D.M. Hillis, C. Moritz and B.K. Mable (ed.). Molecular Systematics. 2nd Edition. Sunderland: Sinauer Associates.

Paradis E., J. Claude and K. Strimmer. 2004. ape: analyses of phylogenetics and evolution in R language. Bioinformatics 20(2): 289-290.

Perdices A., E. Bermingham, A. Montilla and I. Doadrio. 2002. Evolutionary history of the genus Rhamdia (Teleostei: Pimelodidae) in Central America. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 25: 172-189.

R Development Core Team. 2009. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.

Reis R.E., S.O. Kullander and C.J. Ferraris Jr. 2003. Checklist of the freshwater fishes of South and Central America. Porto Alegre: Edipucrs. 729 p.

Schliep K.P. 2011. phangorn: phylogenetic analysis in R. Bioinformatics 27(4): 592-593.