Arowanas (Osteoglossinae) are charismatic freshwater fishes with six species and two genera (Osteoglossum and Scleropages) distributed in South America, Asia, and Australia. In an attempt to provide a better assessment of the processes shaping their evolution, we employed a set of cytogenetic and genomic approaches, including i) molecular cytogenetic analyses using C- and CMA3/DAPI staining, repetitive DNA mapping, comparative genomic hybridization (CGH), and Zoo-FISH, along with ii) the genotypic analyses of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) generated by diversity array technology sequencing (DArTseq). We observed diploid chromosome numbers of 2n = 56 and 54 in O. bicirrhosum and O. ferreirai, respectively, and 2n = 50 in S. formosus, while S. jardinii and S. leichardti presented 2n = 48 and 44, respectively. A time-calibrated phylogenetic tree revealed that Osteoglossum and Scleropages divergence occurred approximately 50 million years ago (MYA), at the time of the final separation of Australia and South America (with Antarctica). Asian S. formosus and Australian Scleropages diverged about 35.5 MYA, substantially after the latest terrestrial connection between Australia and Southeast Asia through the Indian plate movement. Our combined data provided a comprehensive perspective of the cytogenomic diversity and evolution of arowana species on a timescale.
In addition to its wide geographical distribution, osteoglossiform fishes represent one of the most ancient freshwater teleost lineages; making it an important group for systematic and evolutionary studies. These fishes had a Gondwanan origin and their past distribution may have contributed to the diversity present in this group. However, cytogenetic and genomic data are still scarce, making it difficult to track evolutionary trajectories within this order. In addition, their wide distribution, with groups endemic to different continents, hinders an integrative study that allows a globalized view of its evolutionary process. Here, we performed a detailed chromosomal analysis in Notopteridae fishes, using conventional and advanced molecular cytogenetic methods. Moreover, the genetic distances of examined species were assessed by genotyping using diversity arrays technology sequencing (DArTseq). These data provided a clear picture of the genetic diversity between African and Asian Notopteridae species, and were highly consistent with the chromosomal, geographical, and historical data, enlightening their evolutionary diversification. Here, we discuss the impact of continental drift and split of Pangea on their recent diversity, as well as the contribution to biogeographical models that explain their distribution, highlighting the role of the Indian subcontinent in the evolutionary process within the family.