The emerging vertebrate model species for neurophysiological studies is Danionella cerebrum, new species (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Academic Article uri icon


  • The four described species of Danionella are tiny, transparent fishes that mature at sizes between 10-15mm, and represent some of the most extreme cases of vertebrate progenesis known to date. The miniature adult size and larval appearance of Danionella, combined with a diverse behavioral repertoire linked to sound production by males, have established Danionella as an important model for neurophysiological studies. The external similarity between the different species of Danionella has offered an important challenge to taxonomic identification using traditional external characters, leading to confusion over the identity of the model species. Using combined morphological and molecular taxonomic approaches, we show here that the most extensively studied species of Danionella is not D. translucida, but represents an undescribed species, D. cerebrum n. sp. that is externally almost identical to D. translucida, but differs trenchantly in several internal characters. Molecular analyses confirm the distinctiveness of D. cerebrum and D. translucida and suggest that the two species are not even sister taxa. Analysis of the evolution of sexual dimorphisms associated with the Weberian apparatus reveals significant increases in complexity from the simpler condition found in D. dracula, to most complex conditions in D. cerebrum, D. mirifica and D. translucida.

published proceedings

  • Sci Rep

altmetric score

  • 124.614

author list (cited authors)

  • Britz, R., Conway, K. W., & Rber, L.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Britz, Ralf||Conway, Kevin W||RĂ¼ber, Lukas

publication date

  • January 2021