, Volume 143, Issue 3, pp 485-490

Genetic evidence for two distinct clades in a French Polynesian population of the coral reef three-spot damselfish Dascyllus trimaculatus

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Previous studies have shown that the three-spot damselfish species complex [Dascyllus albisella Gill, D. auripinnis Randall and Randall, D. strasburgi Klausewitz, D. trimaculatus (Ruppell)] is an assemblage of five geographically distinct clades. The one exception was a single D. trimaculatus from French Polynesia, which grouped with "Pacific Rim" individuals. In the present study, an additional 252 individuals from French Polynesia collected between June 1996 and January 2002 were analyzed using PCR amplifications, restriction fragment length polymorphisms, and DNA sequencing of the mitochondrial control region. The French Polynesian D. trimaculatus belong to two distinct clades. One clade comprising 96% of the individuals includes haplotypes found only in French Polynesia. The other clade (4% of the individuals) is comprised of haplotypes that cluster with "Pacific Rim" individuals, a clade with widespread distribution from Japan to the Line Islands and from Wallis to Palau. Present data suggest that a small number of larvae from northwestern reefs (possibly Line Islands) may have occasionally reached and colonized French Polynesian reefs.

Communicated by J.P. Grassle, New Brunswick