Several types of sex chromosome systems have been recorded among Gymnotiformes, including male and female heterogamety, simple and multiple sex chromosomes, and different mechanisms of origin and evolution. The X1X1X2X2/X1X2Y systems identified in three species of this order are considered homoplasic for the group. In the genus Brachyhypopomus, only B. gauderio presented this type of system. Herein we describe the karyotypes of Brachyhypopomus pinnicaudatus and B. n. sp. FLAV, which have an X1X1X2X2/X1X2Y sex chromosome system that evolved via fusion between an autosome and the Y chromosome. The morphology of the chromosomes and the meiotic pairing suggest that the sex chromosomes of B. gauderio and B. pinnicaudatus have a common origin, whereas in B . n. sp. FLAV the sex chromosome system evolved independently. However, we cannot discard the possibility of common origin followed by distinct processes of differentiation. The identification of two new karyotypes with an X1X1X2X2/X1X2Y sex chromosome system in Gymnotiformes makes it the most common among the karyotyped species of the group. Comparisons of these karyotypes and the evolutionary history of the taxa indicate independent origins for their sex chromosomes systems. The recurrent emergence of the X1X1X2X2/X1X2Y system may represent sex chromosomes turnover events in Gymnotiformes.
Cytogenetic studies were carried out on samples of Parapteronotus hasemani, Sternarchogiton preto and Sternarchorhamphus muelleri (Apteronotidae, Gymnotiformes) from the Amazon basin. The first two species exhibited both a 2n = 52 karyotype, but differed in their karyotypic formulae, distribution of constitutive heterochromatin, and chromosomal location of the NOR. The third species, Sternarchorhamphus muelleri, was found to have a 2n = 32 karyotype. In all three species the DAPI and chromomycin A3 staining results were consistent with the C-banding results and nucleolar organizer region (NOR) localization. The 18S rDNA probe confirmed that there was only one pair of ribosomal DNA cistron bearers per species. The telomeric probe did not reveal interstitial telomeric sequences (ITS). The karyotypic differences among these species can be used for taxonomic identification. These data will be useful in future studies of these fishes and help understanding the phylogenetic relationships and chromosomal evolution of the Apteronotidae.