Marine Biology

, Volume 126, Issue 4, pp 585-590

First online:

Genetic relationships of pilchards (genus: Sardinops) with anti-tropical distributions

  • T. OkazakiAffiliated withNational Research Institute of Aquaculture
  • , T. KobayashiAffiliated withNational Research Institute of Aquaculture
  • , Y. UozumiAffiliated withNational Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries

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The pilchards (genus Sardinops), one of the major components of the world's harvest of fishes, is distributed sporadically in the temperate zone on a global scale. Mitochondrial DNA variation in 95 pilchards from nine worldwide localities in five current systems was examined using ten restriction enzymes. Although several opinions have been proposed on the global population structure of the genus Sardinops, our results clearly rejected the hypothesis of gene flow among geographically distant populations on a global scale. Results indicate that the Japanese pilchards and the Australian and South African pilchards were derived from the eastern Pacific populations, following the speciation of Sardinops in the Pacific, after the formation of the Isthmus of Panama. An intermixing of the northeastern and southeastern Pacific populations during the Pleistocene glacial maxima is suggested from their genetic affinities.