Biogeography and Breeding in Gymnotiformes from Uruguay


This study was carried out in Uruguay (30–35°S), South America, with two complementary approaches. First, an extensive exploration of Uruguayan freshwaters allowed us to assess the distribution of the two major species of Gymnotiformes (out of 4) across sites. Gymnotus carapo was uniformly distributed in Uruguayan territory, whereas Brachyhypopomus pinnicaudatus was observed in the northern and eastern part of the country. There was a highly significant negative correlation between the relative abundance of Brachyhypopomus pinnicaudatus and pH and water conductivity. Moreover, these environmental factors are significant contributors to its spatial differences in relative abundance. Second, temperature, conductivity, photoperiod, and the structure of a Brachyhypopomus pinnicaudatus population were analyzed across seasons in a small lake over a two-year period. Water temperature and photoperiod exhibited important seasonal changes, whereas water conductivity remained low and relatively constant. The presence of sexually mature males, females, and the sudden increase of juveniles indicated the occurrence of the breeding season in November, December, and January, coinciding with high mean water temperatures and extreme photoperiod. These results agree with previous data that support the hypothesis of temperature as an important environmental factor for the onset of breeding in Gymnotiformes from the temperate zone.


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