Morphological and genetic investigations of Pennsylvania populations of the channel shiner, <i>Notropis wickliffi</i>
The channel shiner, Notropis wickliffi, is listed as a vulnerable species in Pennsylvania. Little is known about this species of minnow due to taxonomic confusion with the mimic shiner, N. volucellus . The regional variation in morphology makes it problematic to apply identification characters determined in other studies to Pennsylvania populations. By sequencing the mitochondrial gene, cytochrome b, it was found that N. wickliffi formed a separate phylogenetic clade, while N. volucellus and N. buchanani (ghost shiners) were present in the same clade. Three pigmentation patterns were correlated to the haplotype groups, proving useful in distinguishing between N. wickliffi and N. volucellus from Pennsylvania. Principal component analysis revealed that the morphology of all three species is statistically different. Eight polymorphic microsatellite loci, analyzed with STRUCTURE, showed that hybridization is most likely taking place between both N. wickliffi and N. volucellus and also between N. buchanani and N. volucellus .