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First stygobiotic form of Garra in Iran

We report the first finding of the stygobiotic form of the cyprinid fish Garra rufa (Heckel, 1843), discovered in a single locality in southwestern Iran, while the epigean form of the species is widely distributed in western Asia (Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Syria).


We also report a new locality for its hypogean congener, Garra tashanensis, about 5 km east of its type locality. The two species occur in syntopy in outflows of the Tang-e-Ban, a seasonal karstic spring that only has flowing water during winter and spring, when fish individuals are washed from the cave to the surface.


Identification of the investigated samples was confirmed by morphological analyses, COI distances, and a phylogenetic tree. These findings suggest the existence of a large karst aquifer in the Tashan area that harbours several cave species of fish, crustaceans, and gastropods and may have considerable conservation implications.




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