Cyprinidae Relationships

In her paper published in 2003 in Copeia (the journal of the American Society of Ichthyologists & Herpetologists), Dr Fang Kullander analyses the relationships of various Cyprininds. Among those studied, were Chela, Danio, Devario, Danionella, Esomus, Inlecypris, Microrasbora and Sundadanio. As with much scientific research, there were almost as many questions requiring further research as those that were answered.

In simplistic terms, the phylogeny (or tree of life) of the Danios was built up on the basis of morphological analysis of the species concerned. This means that the size of body parts and fins are accurately measured and compared to other members of genera. This tree of life showed that the genus Danio is closely related to Esomus, Sundadanio, Microrasbora rubrescens, Danionella translucida and ‘Danio’ erythromicron. A quite separate tree is composed of Devario, Inlecypris and Chela. Both ‘trees’ then conjoin as part of the Rasbora complex. In spite of detailed DNA analysis and anatomical dissection, the study was unable to be absolutely precise on the status of Sundanio, Danionella translucida and Microrasbora, further studies being required. Whether Microrasbora erythromicron is a Microrasbora or a Danio has yet to be fully established so for the time being, I prefer to leave it as a Microrasbora.

In view of the relationships described, it would seem logical to include in this web site, the additional genera of Chela, Esomus, Inlecypris, Microrasbora and Sundadanio. This is now being undertaken and as pictures and further information becomes available on the genera and the species therein, they will be added.