Histological differences in axial musculature between relative species of the genera Phoxinus and Rhynchocypris (Actinopterygii: Cypriniformes: Leuciscidae)

Nikita O. YABLOKOV, Ivan V. ZUEV


Comparative studies of axial musculature in Phoxinus phoxinus and three species of the genus Rhynchocypris were conducted to analyze locomotor abilities and biotopic preferences of widespread Asian minnows. The ratio between the areas occupied by the red and white muscles, as well as the fiber diameter, was measured on histological sections. Significant between-species differences were found in the size of the both type of fibers. Mean diameter of white fibers varied from 50.7 to 69.3μm, the extreme values (min-max) of this parameter were found in typical lotic species, R. lagowskii and P. phoxinus, respectively. Mean diameter of red fibers varied from 26.4 to 33.5μm, and also does not have a clear link to the type of habitat. On the contrary, the distribution of different types of fibres was in good agreement with the data on preferred biotopes of studied species, divided into two groups. Mean proportion of red fibres in caudal peduncle in lotic P. phoxinus and R. lagowskii (9.1-10.2%) was more than twice as high as that in lentic R. percnurus and R. czekanowskii (3.8-4.3%). The low proportion of red muscles in R. percnurus and R. czekanowskii, in addition to poor mobility, may also indicate adaptation to wintering under hypoxic conditions. In general, the ratio of red to white muscles provides additional information for predicting the distribution of minnows in freshwaters.


Minnows, Fibre size, Red muscles, White muscles, Preferred biotopes, Northern Asia.

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