Meristic character variability among populations of Silurus triostegus Heckel, 1843 from the Euphrates, Tigris, and Shatt al-Arab Rivers, Iraq

  • Laith A. Jawad
  • Alessandro Ligas
  • Muhammad I.G. Al-Janabi
Keywords: Siluridae, Mesopotamia, population, morphology


Variation in the numbers of pectoral fin spines and rays, pelvic fin rays, gill rakers on the first gill arch, anal fin rays, and the number of vertebrae of Silurus triostegus Heckel were examined in specimens from 16 localities that span its entire distribution range in the Tigris, Euphrates, and Shatt al-Arab rivers in Iraq. The mean number of the six meristic traits increases toward high latitudes with maximum and minimum values in the north and south of Iraq. Based on cluster analysis and PCA, the Mesopotamian river samples were clearly separated into three distinct groups. The upper Tigris populations were isolated from those of the middle and southern populations of this river and from those of the Euphrates River. Possible reasons for such differentiation among populations are discussed, and the integration of research on this species among the countries neighboring Iraq is required.


L.A. Jawad [+]
Flat Bush, Manukau, Auckland, New Zealand
A. Ligas
CIBM, viale N. Sauro 4, 57128, Livorno, Italy
M.I.G. Al-Janabi
Iraq Natural History Research Centre and Museum, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq