Cypriniform Diversity
Outreach and Educaction

Current Projects

CToL Project: Testing the Monophyly of the Family Cyprinidae and Constituent Subfamilies (Teleostei; Cypriniformes)

Data Needed: Cyt. b, S7, Control Region, Rag1, ND4-ND5, RH

Taxa Needed: Psilorhynchus.

Current Collaborators: R. L. Mayden, R. M. Wood, and A. Bufalino, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA; S. He and H. Liu, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, China. M. Miya, Natural History Museum & Institute, Chiba, Japan; K. Saitoh, Tohoku National Fisheries Research Institute, Japan;P. M. Harris, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; A. M. Simons, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. H. L. Bart, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Contact Person: Dr. Richard Mayden (

General Description: The family Cyprinidae is one of the most diverse families of freshwater fishes, with a distribution that includes all northern hemisphere continents, Africa, and Malaysia.  These fishes have been traditionally viewed as belonging to a monophyletic group, although no morphological characters have been identified to support such a hypothesis.  The number of subfamilies within this family have varied tremendously over the last century, largely because of a tremendous amount of morphological variation in a relatively poor suite of characters used to assess the taxonomy of the family.  Further complicating the issue is the tremendous diversity within the family, making it exceedingly difficult to assess the phylogenetic relationships of these fishes based solely on morphological traits.  Previous hypotheses have argued that the family is monophyletic or that some members may be more closely related to the Catostomidae or Gyrinocheilidae, that some of the subfamilies are monophyletic and others represent unresolved paraphyletic groups, and that the family is the ancestral group that gave rise to all other families within the Cypriniformes.

In the current CToL project we are working together on the above listed genes to examine the monophyly of the family relative to the other proposed families within the Cypriniformes, and examine the monophyly of the different subfamilies that have been historically proposed for the family. As a result of this study we will necessarily be assessing the potential monophyly of some of the proposed tribes.  While the great diversity within the Cyprinidae will not permit us to examine all of the species it will cover enough diversity to produce a strong skeletal phylogeny within the family for continued research and for others to use for various evolutionary studies. 

Collaborators are welcome to join us in this project through efforts to sequence any of the identified genes or providing materials of the needed species.  If you are interested in joining this project please contact the identified person and outline your intended contributions so that we may make rapid progress on resolving the phylogeny and classification of these fishes.
Questions or comments? Contact Director, Dr. Richard Mayden

Deep Fin Initiative | FishBase Info | FishBase Search | FishNet |
All Catfish Species Inventory | NSF AtoL