Osteology of the South Asian Genus Psilorhynchus McClelland, 1839 (Teleostei: Ostariophysi: Psilorhynchidae), with investigation of its phylogenetic relationships within the order Cypriniformes Academic Article uri icon


  • Members of the genus Psilorhynchus are small benthic fishes, commonly referred to as torrent minnows, which inhabit the fast to swift flowing water bodies of the Indo-Burma region and the Western Ghats of Peninsular India. Despite being described scientifically in the mid 18 th century, the morphology of Psilorhynchus remains poorly known and its phylogenetic placement within the order Cypriniformes is a matter of considerable debate. In this paper the osteology of Psilorhynchus sucatio is described and illustrated in detail. Notes and/or illustrations on the osteology of 12 other species of Psilorhynchus are also provided for the first time. A phylogenetic investigation of the position of Psilorhynchus within the order Cypriniformes is also conducted. Analysis of 127 morphological characters scored for 52 ingroup taxa (including 12 species of Psilorhynchus) and four outgroup taxa resulted in 14 equally parsimonious cladograms (287 steps long; consitency index, CI=0.48; retention index, RI=0.88). Psilorhynchus is recovered as the sister group to the family Cyprinidae, and is regarded as a member of the superfamily Cyprinoidea, which forms the sister group to the Cobitoidea (including all other cypriniform families). The sistergroup relationship between Psilorhynchus and Cyprinidae is supported by eight derived characters (five of which are homoplastic within the order Cypriniformes). The monophyly of Psilorhynchus is supported by 16 derived characters (eight of which are homoplastic within Cypriniformes). Three species groups of Psilorhynchus are proposed, the Psilorhynchus balitora group (including P. amplicephalus, P. balitora, P. breviminor, P. nepalensis, P. rahmani, P. pavimentatus, and P. brachyrhynchus), the Psilorhynchus gracilis group (including P. gracilis, P. melissa, P. robustus, and P. tenura), and the Psilorhynchus homaloptera group (including P. arunachalensis, P. homaloptera, P. microphthalmus, and P. pseudecheneis). The continued use of the family group name Psilorhynchidae is recommended. Comments on the interrelationships of the Cypriniformes are also provided. 2011 The Linnean Society of London.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Conway, K. W.

citation count

  • 36

complete list of authors

  • Conway, Kevin W

publication date

  • July 2011