Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 1, pp 167–175

Genetic connectivity among color morphs and Pacific archipelagos for the flame angelfish, Centropyge loriculus


    • Department of Zoology, Hawai’i Institute of Marine BiologyUniversity of Hawai’i
  • Richard L. Pyle
    • Bernice P. Bishop Museum
  • Edward DeMartini
    • Pacific Islands Fisheries Science CenterNational Marine Fisheries Services
  • Brian W. Bowen
    • Department of Zoology, Hawai’i Institute of Marine BiologyUniversity of Hawai’i
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00227-006-0471-5

Cite this article as:
Schultz, J.K., Pyle, R.L., DeMartini, E. et al. Mar Biol (2007) 151: 167. doi:10.1007/s00227-006-0471-5


Color variation is used in taxonomic classification of reef fishes, but it may not reliably indicate evolutionary divergence. In the central Pacific, there are three color morphs of the flame angelfish, Centropyge loriculus: a red morph that occurs primarily in the Hawaiian archipelago, the endemic Marquesan color morph with reduced black markings, and an orange morph that occurs throughout the rest of Oceania. The red and orange morphs co-occur at Johnston Atoll (1,300 km south of Hawai’i), but intermediate forms have not been reported. To determine whether the three color morphs represent distinct evolutionary lineages, we compared 641 base pairs of mitochondrial cytochrome b. Forty-one closely related haplotypes were observed in 116 individuals. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) indicated no significant genetic structure among color morphs (ΦST = 0.011, P = 0.147). Likewise, there was no significant pairwise structure between sampling locations, separated by up to 5,700 km, after a Bonferroni correction (ΦST = 0.000–0.080, P = 0.0130–0.999). Genetic studies in conjunction with larval distribution data indicate that Centropyge species are highly dispersive. While there is a strong geographic component to the distribution of color morphs in C. loriculus, we find no evidence for corresponding genetic partitioning. We do not rule out an adaptive role for color differentiation, but our data do not support emerging species.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006