Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 10, pp 2173–2186 | Cite as

Quaternary geographical sibling speciation and population structuring in the Eastern Atlantic skates (suborder Rajoidea) Raja clavata and R. straeleni

  • Paola Pasolini
  • Chiara Ragazzini
  • Zelia Zaccaro
  • Alessia Cariani
  • Giorgia Ferrara
  • Elena G. Gonzalez
  • Monica Landi
  • Ilaria Milano
  • Marco Stagioni
  • Ilaria Guarniero
  • Fausto TintiEmail author
Original Paper


The European Raja clavata and the South African R. straeleni are marine skates which exhibit highly conserved morphological and ecological traits. Owing to this, taxonomic and evolutionary relationships between the two taxa have not yet fully elucidated. Here, we have tested the hypothesis that restricted gene flow and genetic divergence between these taxa might be associated with climatic/oceanographic discontinuities by surveying genetic variation in ten geographical samples at control region (CR) and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) loci. The clustering of CR haplotypes in two reciprocally monophyletic clades consistent with taxon zoogeography and the significant AFLP F values between the European and South African populations indicated the two taxa as recently diverged peripatric sibling species. Within each species, significant spatial genetic heterogeneity among samples at both markers revealed population structuring. We argued that structured populations and isolated sibling species might represent two stages of geographical speciation.


Amplify Fragment Length Polymorphism Control Region Last Glacial Maximum Amplify Fragment Length Polymorphism Marker Amplify Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis 
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 thank the associate editor and the anonymous reviewers for the scientific criticisms and editing suggestions which have really improved the soundness and readability of the ms. We thank Cecilia Mancusi and Fabrizio Serena (ARPA Toscana, Livorno, Italy), Torkild Bakken (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway), Malia Chevolot (University of Groningen, Haren, The Netherlands), Farid Hemida (ENSSMAL, Algiers, Algeria), Corrado Piccinetti (University of Bologna, Fano, Italy), Diana Zaera-Perez (Institute of Marine Research, Bergen, Norway) and Rob Leslie (Dept. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cape Town, South Africa) for providing tissue samples for this study. The research work was supported by grants given by the University of Bologna to FT and PP. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

227_2011_1722_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (314 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 313 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paola Pasolini
    • 1
  • Chiara Ragazzini
    • 1
  • Zelia Zaccaro
    • 1
  • Alessia Cariani
    • 1
  • Giorgia Ferrara
    • 1
  • Elena G. Gonzalez
    • 2
  • Monica Landi
    • 1
    • 4
  • Ilaria Milano
    • 1
  • Marco Stagioni
    • 1
  • Ilaria Guarniero
    • 3
  • Fausto Tinti
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Molecular Genetics of Environmental and Fishery Resources, Department of Experimental and Evolutionary BiologyAlma Mater Studiorum University of BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology IV, Veterinary SchoolComplutense University of MadridMadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of Veterinary Public Health and Animal PathologyAlma Mater Studiorum University of BolognaOzzano dell’Emilia (BO)Italy
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal

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