, Volume 133, Issue 4, pp 691-699

Morphological variation of Mytilus edulis and Mytilus trossulus in eastern Newfoundland

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Abstract

Allopatric populations of Mytilus species show distinct shell morphology which may be due to genetic and/or environmental effects. Sympatric populations of Mytilus species show similar shell morphology which may be due to hybridization eroding morphological differences and/or the influence of common environmental conditions. The present study examined shell morphology and shell shape from 16 sites in eastern Newfoundland where M. edulis L. and M. trossulus Gould coexist in common environments with limited hybridization. Shell morphology was based on measurements of eight characters, and shell shape was quantified by elliptic Fourier analysis of shell outlines. Significant differences were observed between species for both shell morphology and shell shape across 16 sites sampled. The relatively small differences in morphology and shape between the species were probably due to exposure to common environments rather than hybridization. Shell shape for M. edulis was more eccentric compared to M. trossulus which was more elongated. Shell shape analysis of a range of size classes at one site showed a change from an eccentric to an elongated shape going from the smaller to the larger size classes. Both species showed a similar trend, with the larger M. edulis more eccentric and the larger M. trossulus more elongated.

Received: 17 July 1998 / Accepted: 6 January 1999