The genetic population structure of the small cyprinid Hemigrammocypris rasborella, distributed widely in lowlands of western Japan, was examined using partial sequence data of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Molecular phylogenetic analysis revealed that the populations of the western Kyushu region were markedly differentiated from all eastern populations, such that the groups would be comparable to different species; their divergence was inferred to have occurred in the Late Miocene–Pliocene. Also, a largely divergent mtDNA group (with divergence in the early Pleistocene) was found in the Sanyo and northeastern Shikoku regions, forming a secondary contact zone in the western Kinki with the eastern mtDNA group. To date, these aspects of the population structure of H. rasborella appear to be unique among lowland fishes in western Japan. Deeper understanding of the formation processes of freshwater faunas in western Japan will require further comparisons of the phylogeographic patterns and ecological traits of constituent species.
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