• Amazon basin;
  • Amazon fish;
  • ATPase;
  • population genetics

Mitochondrial DNA ( mtDNA) sequences of the marbled hatchetfish Carnegiella strigata, an ornamental fish exported from the Negro River, was examined to determine its genetic diversity and population structure in blackwater rivers (Negro and Uatumã Rivers) in the central Amazon. Analyses of a 646 bp fragment of the ATPase 6/8 mtDNA gene revealed two monophyletic lineages of C. strigata with considerable genetic distance between them (10–12%), suggesting that these lineages should not be considered a single stock. Furthermore, there were strong differences in the geographical distribution of the lineages. These results indicate a past association between drainages of the Negro and Uatumã Rivers. They also suggest that, in the Negro River, its main tributary, the Branco River, may act as a geographical barrier and potentially an ecological barrier between populations of the middle and lower portions of the river.