How the body shape changes by the habitat hydrological factors in freshwater benthic fishes; case study on the genera Cobitis (Cobitidae) and Ponticola (Gobiidae)

Environmental factors Truss network system. Discrimination Body shape.


  • Adeleh Heidari Department of Fisheries Sciences, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Guilan, Sowmeh Sara, Guilan, Iran.
  • Meysam Salehi Abzi-Exir Aquaculture Co., Agriculture Section, Kowsar Economic Organization, Tehran, Iran.
  • Hamed Mousavi-Sabet Department of Fisheries Sciences, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Guilan, Someh Sara, Guilan, Iran.
February 25, 2019


Benthic fish groups with low mobility are often restricted to a narrow range of a stream course, and their morphological characters tend to be affected substantially by the environmental conditions in their habitat. Due to morphological affectability of fishes by many factors in lotic ecosystems, a landmark-based hypothesis was used to investigate the effects of habitat hydrological conditions on morphological characteristics in freshwater benthic fishes; a case study on the genera Ponticola and Cobitis. A total of 216 gobies and 128 spined loaches specimens were caught from six rivers with different hydrological conditions, along the southern Caspian Sea basin. In discriminant function analysis (DFA), the overall assignment of gobies and loaches into their original groups were 95.7% and 80.5%, respectively. Discriminant analysis for pairwise groups shows a longer snout, shallow body/head, and elongated body for populations living in the large slope channel with faster water velocity versus relatively short snout and deep body/head for those living in small slope channel with slower water velocity. The results confirm the possibility of changes in the morphological characters of the benthic gobies and loaches, which should be considered in taxonomical and biological studies.