• diploid–polyploid;
  • Guadiana;
  • hybrid complex;
  • microsatellites;
  • Tejo

Several studies have demonstrated the hybrid origin of Squalius alburnoides, a complex of diploid, triploid and tetraploid fish, with Squalius pyrenaicus as the maternal ancestor and an Anaecypris hispanica-like species as the paternal ancestor. The aim of this study was to assess patterns of genetic diversity and similarity between sympatric forms of the different ploidy levels of S. alburnoides and related parental species in the two largest basins that are part of its southern Iberian distribution, the Tejo and Guadiana, using microsatellites. High levels of genetic diversity were found in populations of S. alburnoides from both basins, reflecting the hybrid origin, the high diversity of forms in these river basins and the different modes of reproduction of the complex. Microsatellites indicated low values of genetic differentiation between the non-hybrid all-male form of S. alburnoides and A. hispanica, supporting the view that these forms share a common ancestor. In some instances, diploid and triploid hybrids from the same river basin were more closely related to each other than to their counterparts in the other basins, suggesting an ancient origin for the complex in these Iberian southern basins.