Genetic relationships between marine and marginal-marine populations of Cerithium species from the Mediterranean Sea
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Results of isozyme electrophoresis were used to explore the genetic relationships between several Mediterranean morphs of Cerithium (Gastropoda: Prosobranchia), for which taxonomy is currently uncertain because of high intraspecific variability and low interspecific differentiation. The large species, classically known as C. vulgatum Bruguière, 1789 was identified at four sites (two in the French Mediterranean and two in southern Spain). Two different larval types were found in the French sites, but poecilogony could not be demonstrated. Individuals collected from harbours were not genetically distinct from open-sea populations of classic C. vulgatum. However, a population in the Embiez lagoon (French Mediterranean) which morphologically resembles C. vulgatum did display distinct genetic traits, supporting its status as a separate species. Of the small Cerithium species usually known as C. rupestre, two sympatric species (C.“rupestre” Risso, 1826 and C. lividulum Risso, 1826) were distinguished. Genotype frequencies within the analysed populations revealed much heterozygote deficiency. FST values (fixation index measuring the effects of population subdivision) suggest a higher genetic differentiation for C. lividulum populations than for C. vulgatum populations. We assume that a high larval dispersal capability (via planktotrophy) allows a high gene flow between populations of C. vulgatum.
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