Genetic evidence fails to discriminate between Macroramphosus gracilis Lowe 1839 and Macroramphosusscolopax Linnaeus 1758 in Portuguese waters
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- Robalo, J.I., Sousa-Santos, C., Cabral, H. et al. Mar Biol (2009) 156: 1733. doi:10.1007/s00227-009-1197-y
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Fish belonging to the genus Macroramphosus are distributed throughout the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. Some authors consider this genus monotypic, Macroramphosus scolopax being the only valid species. Other authors consider (based on several morphological and ecological characters) that another species (Macroramphosus gracilis) exists and occurs frequently in sympatry with the first one. Intermediate forms are also reported in literature. In this paper, using the mitochondrial control region and the nuclear first S7 intron markers, we failed to find genetic differences between individuals considered to belong to both species as well as the intermediate forms. Our results suggest that in the northeastern Atlantic, Macroramphosus is represented by a single species, M. scolopax, with different morphotypes interbreeding in the sampling areas.