Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 3, pp 509–519 | Cite as

Phylogeography and evolution of the triplefin Tripterygion delaisi (Pisces, Blennioidei)

  • Vera S. DominguesEmail author
  • Vitor C. Almada
  • Ricardo S. Santos
  • Alberto Brito
  • Giacomo Bernardi
Research Article


The genus Tripterygion (Risso 1826) is restricted to the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and comprises only three species. T. melanuros and T. tripteronotus are essentially endemic to the Mediterranean, while Tripterygion delaisi occurs in the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean. Two subspecies of T. delaisi have been described (T. d. xanthosoma in the Mediterranean and T. d. delaisi in the Atlantic). Several scenarios have been proposed for the evolution of T. delaisi subspecies, but so far its subspeciation process is not clear. In this study we present a population survey of T. delaisi including specimens from the two recognized subspecies. We combined a phylogeographic approach with estimates of the direction of migration (between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean) and of the coalescence time of the two subspecies, using polymorphic mitochondrial and nuclear genes. The results of this study clearly support the existence of two Tripterygion delaisi clades, one in the eastern Atlantic islands and another in the Atlantic coasts of Europe and in the Mediterranean. Historical migration between the islands and Western Europe plus Mediterranean was restricted, and showed a westbound trend, with a higher number of migrants going from the Western Europe plus Mediterranean into the islands. We estimated the time of coalescence of both groups of T. delaisi to be more recent than the onset of Pleistocene glaciations (1.7 Mya). Our results are consistent with previous hypothesis that consider successive dispersal events of a Tripterygion ancestor from the western African coast colonizing the Atlantic islands and the Mediterranean, promoting the evolutionary divergence between these areas.


Mediterranean Population Mitochondrial Control Region Pleistocene Glaciation Coalescence Time Speciation Center 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank P. Wirtz and R. Hanel for Triprerygion samples from different localities. We also thank P. Wirtz for his helpful comments. This research was partly founded by a PhD grant SFRH/BD/13069/2003, from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (VSD), and by the David and Lucille Packard Foundation’s PISCO program. ISPA and IMAR-DOP/UAz are funded by FCT through a pluri-annual and programmatic funding schemes (FEDER).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vera S. Domingues
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Vitor C. Almada
    • 1
  • Ricardo S. Santos
    • 2
  • Alberto Brito
    • 4
  • Giacomo Bernardi
    • 3
  1. 1.Instituto Superior de Psicologia AplicadaUnidade de Investigação em Eco-EtologiaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Departamento de Oceanografia e PescasUniversidade dos AçoresHortaPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of California Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA
  4. 4.Departmento Biología Animal (Ciencias Marinas)Universidad de La LagunaLa LagunaSpain

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