Cranial morphometrics and mitochondrial DNA sequences distinguish cryptic species of the longface emperor (Lethrinus olivaceus), an emblematic fish of Indo-West Pacific coral reefs

Abstract : Range-wide morphometric variability (cranial measurements) and genetic variability (nucleotide sequences of the cytochrome b gene) were investigated in the longface emperor, Lethrinus olivaceus (Lethrinidae), an emblematic large predatory fish of Indo-West Pacific coral reefs. Two cranial morphotypes were observed, one present from the Indian Ocean to the Coral Triangle and the other one, from the Coral Triangle to the western Central Pacific. The two morphotypes are concordant with reciprocally monophyletic mitochondrial lineages separated by 9.5% net nucleotide distance. These results suggest an old evolutionary history for L. olivaceus, that consists of two distinct species (Lethrinus sp. A in the Indian Ocean and Coral Triangle, Lethrinus sp. B in the western Pacific Ocean), whose distribution ranges meet or overlap in the eastern part of the Coral Triangle, in Taiwan and in West Papua. Lethrinus sp. A comprises two distinct mitochondrial lineages separated by 1.7% net nucleotide distance, one exclusive to the populations from the Indian Ocean, the other exclusive to Coral Triangle populations. The latter observation might be explained by vicariance, whereby the two lineages have been isolated from one another on either side of the Sunda Shelf because of low sea level in the Pleistocene. To clarify the nomenclature of this species complex, we recommend sequencing a fragment of the cytochrome b gene of the holotypes of L. olivaceus and of its first junior synonyms L. rostratus and L. waigiensis.
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Comptes Rendus Biologies, Elsevier Masson, 2013, 336, pp.505-514
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Philippe Borsa, Dun-Ren Hsiao, Kent Carpenter, Wei-Jen Chen. Cranial morphometrics and mitochondrial DNA sequences distinguish cryptic species of the longface emperor (Lethrinus olivaceus), an emblematic fish of Indo-West Pacific coral reefs. Comptes Rendus Biologies, Elsevier Masson, 2013, 336, pp.505-514. 〈ird-00915470〉

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