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Phylogenetic Analysis of Channa Genus based on Morphological Characters and X-Ray Imaging

PJZ_54_2_693-700

Phylogenetic Analysis of Channa Genus based on Morphological Characters and X-Ray Imaging

Aiguo Zhou1,2,4, Shaolin Xie1,2, Zhuolin Sun1,2, Yongyong Feng1,2, Shulin Liu1,2, Di Sun1,2, Yanfeng Chen3 and Jixing Zou1,2*

1Joint Laboratory of Guangdong Province and Hong Kong Region on Marine Bioresource Conservation and Exploitation, College of Marine Sciences, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China

2Guangdong Laboratory for Lingnan Modern Agriculture, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China

3School of Life Science and Engineering, Foshan University, Foshan 528231, Guangdong, China

4Qingyuan North River Fishery Science Institute, Qingyuan 511510, Guangdong, China

ABSTRACT

Classification of the dispute is in existence among the Channa genus. In present study, we measured 11 countable characteristics and 29 measurable characteristics of 89 individuals and performed morphological analysis among five Channa species. The principal component analysis showed that the cumulative contribution rate of five principal components reached 78.928%, and tail shank (TS) and head length (HL) were the main contributors to the first principal component (35.435% contribution rate). The scatter diagram of the principal component analysis showed that white type and Channa argus had common overlap, while the other three Channa species were grouped together. Cluster analysis showed that all Channa species can be completely separated, and O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus clustered together. The discriminant analysis showed that O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus were 41.7% and 58.3% similar to each other, respectively. X-ray photography revealed that O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus have similar forms, but they are far from C. asiatica. Therefore, O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus have a close relationship with no significant morphological differences.


Article Information

Received 22 May 2019

Revised 30 June 2019

Accepted 25 September 2019

Available online 28 April 2021

(early access)

Published 11 January 2022

Authors’ Contribution

JZ and AZ designed the study and drafted the paper. SX, ZS and YF collected the sample. SL and DS pretreated the sample. CY analyzed the data.

Key words

Channa species, Morphological analysis, Phylogenetic relationship, X-ray photography

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/20190522140553

* Corresponding author: zoujixing@scau.edu.cn

0030-9923/2022/0002-0693 $ 9.00/0

Copyright 2022 Zoological Society of Pakistan



INTRODUCTION

Morphological analysis is a convenient way to study genetic variation because the markers are visible, specific external features. There have been many morphology studies of fish species (Mir et al., 2014; Hammami et al., 2016; Song et al., 2015) and morphological identification is one of the most direct methods for observing and identifying fish phenotype traits. Advantages include the ease of experimentation and minimal damage to animals. The study of species classification, resource identification, and biological evolution have been based on morphological markers. The Channa genus includes 33 Species, the C. argus, C. maculata, C. asiatica and C. maculata x C. argus (Perciformes, Channoidei, Channidae) are widely distributed in China. While the white type C. argus is only discovered in the Jialing River in Sichuan (105.05E, 29.58N) in China, which is white without any blotches, the size and appearance are very similar with the biocolor one (Zhou et al., 2015).

In order to comprehensively understand interspecific differences and identify Channa species, we used morphological methods. However, preliminary identification of O. argus var Kimnra based on appearance can provide some theoretical guidance for standardizing Channa species breeding and production. By comparing the morphological characteristics of different Channa species, we can understand their genetic relationship and provide information for resource evaluation, protection, and utilization of O. argus var Kimnra.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Experimental animal collection

The samples used in this study were collected from wild in the non breeding season; the body weight and length ranges were 29.23-273.89 g and 13.59-30.84 cm, respectively. Channa species information is provided in Table I.

Measurement and data collection

The experimental Channa species were weighed on

 

Table I. Sample information of five Channa species.

Sample name

Sample size

Location

Date

C. argus

20

Neijiang, Chongqing

2015, 2016

O. argus var Kimnra

20

Neijiang, Chongqing

2015, 2016

C. maculata

16

Qingyuan, Guangdong Province

2016

C. maculata x C. argus

18

Zhongshan, Guangdong Province

2016

C. asiatica

15

Guangzhou, Guangdong Province

2016

 

Table II. Meristic characters of five Channa species.

Traits

Channa species

O. argus var

Kimnra

C. argus

C. maculata

C. maculata x

C. argus

C. asiatica

Soft ray of dorsal fin

47-50(48.25±1.14)c

47-51(48.8±1.47)c

43-49(45.73±2.05)b

42-49(45.53±2.39)b

42-46(43.82±1.33)a

Soft ray of pectoral fin

16-19(17.17±1.27)b

16-18(16.92±0.90)b

15-18(16.45±1.37)b

13-18(14.93±1.58)a

14-16(14.91±0.83)a

Soft ray of pelvic fin

6(6.00±0.00) b

5-6(5.50±0.52)a

6(6.00±0.00) b

5-6(5.47±0.52) a

0

Soft ray of anal fin

29-34(31.33±1.87)b

30-34(32.58±1.38)b

26-32(29.18±2.23)a

27-32(29.80±1.90)a

29-30(29.64±0.50)a

Soft ray of tail fin

16-19(17.42±2.15)c

16-20(18.00±1.48)c

15-17(15.91±0.83)b

13-18(15.53±2.00)b

12-16(14.09±1.64)a

Lateral line scales

61-65(62.67±1.56)b

57-65(60.83±2.82)b

51-60(54.82±3.03)a

56-68(63.00±3.74)b

58-64(61.09±2.26)b

Scales above lateral line

8-12(10.33±1.50)c

8-10(8.92±0.90)b

6-8(7.00±0.89)a

7-10(8.80±1.21)b

8-9(8.55±0.52)b

Scales below lateral line

17-19(18.08±0.90)b

16-19(17.42±1.08)b

14-18(15.45±1.37)a

16-19(17.60±1.06)b

15-17(15.82±0.98)a

Gill rakers

10-13(11.08±1.16)b

10-12(11.25±0.87)b

9-13(11.09±1.51)b

9-14(11.33±1.63)b

8-12(9.82±1.54)a

Vertebra

56-60(57.08±1.16)b

55-60(57.67±1.97)b

53-55(53.91±0.83)a

53-56(54.53±1.30)a

54-55(54.55±0.52)a

Rib

51-55(52.75±1.48)b

50-55(52.92±1.73)b

48-50(48.73±0.79)a

48-51(49.60±1.24)a

49-50(49.45±0.52)a

 

an electronic scale (accurate to 0.01 g), and a digital vernier caliper was used to measure traditional morphological and frame data. The traditional morphological data included 10 countable traits (soft ray of dorsal fin number, soft ray of pectoral fin number, soft ray of pelvic fin number, soft ray of anal fin number, soft ray of tail fin number, lateral line scales number, scales above lateral line number, scales below lateral line number, gill rakers number, vertebra number and rib number) and 10 measurable traits (accurate to 0.01 cm: full length (FL), body length (BL), body height (BH), body width (BW), caudal peduncle length (CPL), caudal peduncle depth (CPD), head length (HL), snout length (SnL), head length behind the eyes, eye diameter (EL) and eye interval (IW)). Frame parameters (accurate to 0.01 cm) included 21 items. Measurement features are as follows: BL, Distance from the snout front to the tail vertebrae. BW, Maximum distance between the two body sides. BH, Maximum vertical distance from the top of the trunk to the abdomen. HL, Distance from the snout front to the external edge of the preopercle. SnL, Distance from the front of the snout to the eye leading edge. EL, Maximum distance between the front and back edges of the eye. IW, Distance between the upper edge of the head on both sides of the eyes. CPL, Horizontal distance from the end of the anal fin base to the front end of the caudal fins. CPD, Shortest vertical distance between the dorsal and ventral edges of the caudal handle.

Statistical analysis

In order to eliminate the effect caused by the different sample size, the ratio of original data and BL or HL are used as the correction value, and 29 morphological characters were included as a parameter for least significant difference (LSD) testing using Excel 2016 and SPSS19.0 software. We carried out cluster analysis and principal component analysis and then calculated the Euclidean Distance of each group, as well as the principal component eigenvalue and contribution rate. The principal component scores were used to generate a scatter diagram. Principal Component Analysis: SPSS19.0 software was used to analyze morphological data, and then we calculated the principal component eigenvalue and contribution rate, which were used to generate a scatter diagram. Clustering Analysis: We used the Analyze-Classify-Hierarchical-Cluster method in SPSS19.0 software to perform cluster analysis for the five Channa species.

 

Table III. Morphological data of five Channa species.

Traits

Channa species

O. argus var Kimnra

C. argus

C. maculata

C. maculata x C. argus

C. asiatica

BL/FL

0.84±0.02a

0.86±0.03b

0.90±0.01c

0.86±0.01b

0.85±0.01ab

BH/BL

0.19±0.01b

0.16±0.01a

0.20±0.02c

0.19±0.02b

0.18±0.01b

CPD/CPL

1.41±0.05d

1.29±0.13c

0.85±0.09a

1.18±0.09b

2.06±0.18e

HL/BL

0.31±0.02b

0.31±0.01b

0.33±0.02c

0.33±0.03c

0.24±0.01a

SnL/HL

0.16±0.02bc

0.16±0.04cd

0.14±0.01ab

0.14±0.03a

0.17±0.01d

HLBE/HL

0.70±0.08b

0.70±0.11b

0.72±0.01c

0.72±0.11c

0.68±0.02a

EL/HL

0.14±0.01b

0.15±0.02c

0.13±0.01b

0.13±0.03b

0.11±0.01a

IW/HL

0.32±0.03ab

0.33±0.03bc

0.34±0.01c

0.32±0.04a

0.47±0.02d

D1-2/BL

0.24±0.03c

0.24±0.02c

0.28±0.02d

0.22±0.02b

0.18±0.01a

D1-3/BL

0.17±0.03

0.18±0.02

0.17±0.01

0.17±0.01

/

D1-4/BL

0.12±0.01a

0.14±0.01c

0.16±0.02e

0.15±0.01d

0.13±0.01b

D2-3/BL

0.40±0.02b

0.40±0.03b

0.39±0.05b

0.38±0.04a

/

D2-4/BL

0.26±0.05c

0.25±0.02b

0.28±0.02d

0.24±0.01b

0.18±0.03a

D3-4/BL

0.20±0.01a

0.22±0.02b

0.24±0.03c

0.21±0.01b

/

D3-5/BL

0.15±0.01a

0.14±0.01a

0.17±0.02c

0.15±0.01b

/

D3-6/BL

0.17±0.02b

0.16±0.01a

0.19±0.02c

0.17±0.01b

/

D4-5/BL

0.32±0.06a

0.33±0.01b

0.35±0.01c

0.33±0.01b

0.37±0.01d

D4-6/BL

0.08±0.01a

0.12±0.02c

0.11±0.02b

0.13±0.02c

0.11±0.02b

D5-6/BL

0.26±0.04b

0.24±0.01a

0.26±0.01b

0.24±0.02a

0.26±0.01b

D5-7/BL

0.40±0.05b

0.39±0.03b

0.38±0.01a

0.38±0.02a

0.42±0.03c

D5-8/BL

0.43±0.03bc

0.44±0.02c

0.41±0.02a

0.42±0.02ab

0.46±0.03d

D6-7/BL

0.60±0.05cd

0.58±0.02bc

0.57±0.01ab

0.56±0.02a

0.61±0.02d

D6-8/BL

0.60±0.07b

0.61±0.01b

0.58±0.01a

0.58±0.03a

0.66±0.03c

D7-8/BL

0.09±0.02a

0.09±0.02ab

0.10±0.01cd

0.10±0.01bc

0.11±0.01d

D7-9/BL

0.06±0.02b

0.07±0.02b

0.12±0.02d

0.08±0.01c

0.06±0.01a

D7-10/BL

0.11±0.02a

0.11±0.01a

0.13±0.01c

0.12±0.01b

0.12±0.02c

D8-9/BL

0.10±0.02ab

0.10±0.01a

0.13±0.02d

0.11±0.01bc

0.11±0.01c

D8-10/BL

0.04±0.01a

0.05±0.01a

0.06±0.01b

0.05±0.01a

0.05±0.01a

D9-10/BL

0.09±0.02a

0.08±0.01a

0.11±0.01b

0.10±0.01b

0.10±0.01b

 

Note: Twenty-one truss parameter measurements are the distances between the two of 10 landmark points, e.g., D1-2 denotes the distance between landmark point 1 and 2. 1. Most posterior of maxilla; 2. Tip of snout; 3. Origin of pelvic fin; 4. Terminus of head back; 5. Origin of anal fin ; 6. Origin of dorsal fin; 7. Terminus of anal fin; 8. Terminus of dorsal fin; 9. Ventral origin of caudal fin; 10. Dorsal origin of caudal fin.

Discriminant analysis: We used the Analyze-Classify-Discriminant-Analysis method in SPSS19.0 software to build a discriminant formula with contribution rate parameters with large differences for O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus. Differential Coefficient Analysis: Difference coefficient CD=(MB-MA)/(SDA+SDB), where MA and MB were the mean values of A, B population parameters and SDA and SDB were the standard deviations of A, B population parameters. If the difference coefficient <1.28, it indicates a geographical difference between populations (Mayr et al., 1953).

RESULTS

Characteristic analysis of countable traits

The analysis of countable traits showed that the major differences were gill rakers number, soft ray of dorsal fin number, soft ray of anal fin number, vertebrae number, and scales above lateral line number (Table II). Combining these with the changes in fish body pattern, which can distinguish between different fish types. Still, the body pattern is challenging to determine the precise fish type based solely on the countable traits mentioned above. It needs to used in conjunction with other analytical methods to make provide more accurate identification.

Analysis of measurable traits

LSD significance test analysis of 8 measurable traits ratio and 21 frame correction data (Table III) showed that O. argus var Kimnra has similar measurable trait parameters with C. argus, but there were 24 significantly different measurable traits parameters with C. maculata and C. asiatica (P < 0.05). Compared with the female parent C. Maculata, morphological characters of C. maculata x C. argus had greater similarity with the male parent C. argus.

Principal component analysis

From principal component analysis, we can obtain the load value, contribution rate, and cumulative contribution rate from the first to the fifth principal component (Table IV). Morphological indexes that had a main effect on the first principal component loads value were CPD/CPL, HL/BL, D2-4/BL, D5-8/BL, D7-8/BL, and D7-10/BL, which mainly reflected the characteristics of tail shank and HL. The mainly effect on the second main component loads value was D8-9/ BL, which mainly reflected tail shank features. The HLBE/HL and D5-6/BL had large impacts on the third main component loads value, which mainly reflected the HL and BH features. However, the five principal components accumulated a 78.93% contribution rate, which indicates that there are differences among the five species.


 

According to the first and second principal component scatter diagram (Fig. 1), The relationship of C. maculata x C. argus was between C. argus and C. maculata. C. maculata x C. argus, C. maculata, and C. asiatica can respectively form a group. This suggests that O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus have high morphologic similarity with each other, but there are certain morphological differences compared to the other three Channa species.

In order to show the differences between the five groups, the average value of the 24 eigenvalue groups was analyzed by cluster analysis. The results showed that the five populations could be divided into three groups: O. argus var Kimnra, C. argus and C. maculata x C. argus clustered into the one group, and C. maculata and C. asiatica clustered into the other two groups (Fig. 2). O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus had close genetic distances and similar forms. C. maculata x C. argus was more similar to the male parent C. argus compared with its female parent C. maculata.


 

Discriminant analysis

Based on the above results, we performed discriminant analysis of O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus using 8 measurable parameters and 21 frame parameters, and the discriminant effect was highly significant (P < 0.01). In order to improve the practicality, we selected 9 higher contribution rate characteristics to distinguish species, and the F value is shown in Table V.

The discriminant equation was established using the selected nine morphological parameters as follows: O. argus var Kimnra: Y=1584.714 D3-5/BL +1721.382 BH / BL+1655.351 D1-4/ BL +6896.650D3-6/BL: +4724.734 EL/HL +551.480 CPD/ CPL+1747.480D5-6/BL -2577.771 D4-6/ BL +1555.991 IW/HL -1965.121

C. argus: Y=2463.010D3-5/BL+1547.279BH/BL+7715.315D3-6/BL+2142.617D1-4/BL+ 5162.266 EL/HL +579.297 CPD/ CPL +1569.328D5-6/BL -3046.163 D4-6/BL +1608.042 IW/HL -2253.068.

According to the above discriminant formula, we can distinguish the two Channa species. The method uses the morphological parameters corrected by FL into two above formulae, then the Y value is calculated.

 

Table IV. Factor loading value of 24 measurable characters principal component analysis among five Channa species.

Traits

Principal component

1

2

3

4

5

BL/FL

0.644

0.518

0.016

0.243

-0.242

BH/BL

0.387

0.510

0.031

-0.548

0.126

CPD/CPL

-0.953

0.088

-0.017

-0.095

-0.116

HL/BL

0.851

-0.246

-0.062

-0.114

0.325

SnL/HL

-0.542

-0.024

0.123

0.346

0.197

HLBE/HL

0.059

-0.013

0.763

0.194

-0.380

EL/HL

-0.095

-0.403

0.059

0.741

-0.004

IW/HL

-0.744

0.490

-0.137

0.127

-0.311

D1-2/BL

0.789

0.062

0.439

0.169

0.200

D1-4/BL

0.726

0.395

-0.299

0.233

0.128

D2-4/BL

0.807

-0.240

0.373

0.043

0.238

D4-5/BL

-0.331

0.737

-0.166

0.117

-0.065

D4-6/BL

0.160

0.002

-0.742

0.485

0.147

D5-6/BL

-0.159

0.617

0.640

-0.065

0.023

D5-7/BL

-0.776

0.222

0.253

0.133

0.251

D5-8/BL

-0.816

0.291

-0.099

0075

0.272

D6-7/BL

-0.588

0.312

0.432

-0.005

0.347

D6-8/BL

-0.837

0.250

0.159

0.191

0.184

D7-8/BL

-0.174

0.724

-0.170

-0.071

0.267

D7-9/BL

0.808

0.488

0.116

0.158

0.041

D7-10/BL

0.096

0.811

-0.181

-0.023

-0.023

D8-9/BL

0.440

0.731

0.064

0.153

0.014

D8-10/BL

0.527

0.654

0.119

0.300

-0.136

D9-10/BL

0.099

0.664

-0.208

-0.258

-0.114

Eigenvalue

8.504

5.261

2.456

1.711

1.009

Contribution rate

35.435

21.921

10.234

7.131

4.206

Cumulative contribution rate

35.435

57.356

67.590

74.722

78.928

 

The single factor variance analysis of O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus population identified seven extremely significant different characteristics (P < 0.01), and one significant feature between the two populations (P < 0.05). The mean value, variance, and difference coefficient are shown in Table VI. It can be seen that their difference coefficient is <1.28, the threshold value of subspecies classification, indicating that they belong to different geographic populations, but not up to the level of subspecies.

Analysis of X-ray imaging in Channa species

Based on X-ray studies of the five Channa species, we observed developed girdle and pelvic fins in O. argus var Kimnra, C. argus, C. maculata, and C. maculata x C. argus, but C. asiatica had neither a girdle nor pelvic fin, and the spine and rib numbers were also significantly different. Skull imaging showed that O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus had similar snout tips, but C. asiatica had a blunt snout. Observed from the side, we noted that the rears of the heads of O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus are flat and slightly concave; the eyes are located in the upper part of the skull; and the skull was long, narrow, and higher. The back head margin of C. asiatica curved up, and the eyes were positioned slightly close to the outside of the skull, which was short, wide, and lower (Fig. 3).


 

DISCUSSION

Morphological markers application in fishes

Traditional morphological analysis is an intuitive method to identify distantly related fishes. At present, there are many reports on fish morphological differences (Ecoutin et al., 2005; Elliott et al., 1995; Mir et al, 2014; Ruiz-Campos et al., 2003; Tzeng, 2004; Yang et al., 2003). Our study results showed that the five populations could be divided into three groups through morphological markers, and there is a high level of overlap among the two color morphs of C. argus and C. maculata x C. argus, which is similar to the research of Sicily and Tunisia (Traina et al., 2011). Morphological analysis of lake and stream-dwelling rock bass and pumpkinseed populations suggests that smaller fins may be more common in stream-dwelling individuals (Brinsmead and Fox, 2002). Correlation of morphological characters and buoyancy were investigated in lake trout (Zimmerman et al., 2009), our results also showed that morphological markers can effectively distinguish species with large differences.

Morphological analysis among different Channa species

Channa species morphology are widely studies. Six species of snakehead fish in Malaysia were previously

 

Table V. Variables (ranged by F test values) with high contribution in discriminant analysis of O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus.

Parameter

D3-5/BL

BH/BL

D1-4/BL

D3-6/BL

EL/BL

CPD/CPL

D5-6/BL

D4-6/BL

IW/HL

F values

209.245

48.412

38.169

29.609

19.763

9.237

9.186

8.046

4.000

 

Table VI. Characters of high variance between two populations of O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus.

Traits

O. argus var Kimnra

C. argus

Diversity factor

BH/BL

0.190±0.021b

0.162±0.016a

0.757

CPD/CPL

1.412±0.082b

1.294±0.139a

0.534

EL/HL

0.141±0.016a

0.152±0.023b

0.282

D1-4/BL

0.124±0.018a

0.142±0.015b

0.545

D3-5/BL

0.152±0.017b

0.146±0.013a

0.200

D3-6/BL

0.173±0.028b

0.166±0.016a

0.159

D4-6/BL

0.084±0.015A

0.121±0.027B

0.881

D5-6/BL

0.263±0.044b

0.241±0.018a

0.355

 

Note: a, b very significant difference (P<0.01), A, B significant difference(P < 0.05).

subjected to morphological analysis (Tam et al., 2006). In addition, morphometric analysis revealed a close relationship between C. striatus and C. marulius among the five Channa species (Haniffa et al., 2014). The Malabar snakehead fish C. diplogramma was evaluated for its phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary biogeography using morphological and molecular genetic analyses (Benziger et al., 2011). The taxonomic statuses of C. marulioides and C. melanoptera were clarified using morphological analysis (Lee et al., 1994). Coefficient of morphometric variation data showed that the snakehead fish from Kalimantan was higher than that for Jawa and Sumatera (Oktaviani, 2013). A morphometric and genetic study was also conducted on six of the seven Channa species found in Peninsular Malaysia (Mohd Husin, 2007). Mayr believes that subspecies can be further divided into different geographical populations, and the critical value of the difference coefficient should be 1.28 (Mayr et al., 1953). In our study, the difference coefficient of O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus was <1.28. According to the theory, this did not reach the level of subspecies. Indeed, we can see that O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus had a large cross phenomenon based on the external shape measurable data, therefore, They have no significant morphological differences, and they are distantly related with C. maculata, C. maculata x C. argus, and C. asiatica. The scatter diagram demonstrated that the coincidence degree of O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus were the highest, and the cluster analysis showed similar results. Discriminant analysis and single factor analysis of variance showed that the differences between O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus did not reach the level of subspecies (Wang et al., 1992, 1993), and similar findings were obtained via our previous studies (Zhou et al., 2019). Based on these findings, we can preliminarily determine that O. argus var Kimnra should serve as a C. argus albino mutant.

Relationship between morphological differences and geographical environment

Biological evolution divides organisms into different populations based on geographical environments. However, some research shows that the morphological differences and geographical environments have some connection. Channa species are mainly distributed in the fresh water areas of tropical and subtropical Asia and Africa. An analysis carried out on seven anchovy samples in the northwestern Mediterranean revealed that morphological variation appeared to have a predominantly environmental basis (Tudela, 1999). The morphological and genetic variation of eight Tunisian sharp snout samples showed that the Siculo-Tunisian Strait does not seem to act as a barrier limiting connectivity (Hammami et al., 2016). The populations of C. maruliussite could be divided into four major clusters in Pakistan, and this was related to the impacts of changing environment and other possible factors (Bhatti et al., 2014). The geographic distribution of different Channa species in China is diverse. C. argus is mainly distributed in the Yangtze River basin and north to the Heilongjiang area. Currently, O. argus var Kimnra is only found in the Jialing River basin, overlapping with the geographic distribution of C. argus, especially in Sichuan Province. C. maculata is located in the south of the Yangtze River Valley, especially in southern China, and C. maculata x C. argus has high and low temperature resistance, so it can be farmed in both southern and northern China. Conversely, C. asiatica is mainly located in the south of the Yangtze River basin; it is especially popular in the Guangdong area. According to X-ray findings, O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus are very similar, having developed belt and pelvic fins, but there are also some differences. C. asiatica has neither belt nor pelvic fins, and that may be related to the different geographical environment.

In summary, morphological markers is an effective method to study the genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationship among five genus Channa. At the same time, X-ray can partly distinguish species with large differences. It is suggested that O. argus var Kimnra and C. argus have no significant morphological differences, and the the former is attributed to an albino variant of the latter.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This work was supported by the Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province (2017A020225035, 2016A020210141); Qingyuan Science and Technology Plan Project (2018A023); Youth science and technology innovation talent of guangdong TeZhi plan talent (2019TQ05N914); Fund Fostering Talents for Young Scholars of South China Agricultural University (201707N025); Guangdong Provincial Agricultural Science and Technology Commissioner Project (2018N04); Talent introduction special funds of South China Agricultural University and Scientific Research Staring Foundation for Young Scholars of College of Marine Sciences. We also wish to express our appreciation to our anonymous reviewers for providing valuable comments on the manuscript.

Declaration of conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of this article.

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

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