, Volume 134, Issue 1, pp 125–134 | Cite as

Geometric morphometrics support the proposed molecular taxonomy for three Eucinostomus species (Perciformes: Gerreidae) along the coasts of Mexico

  • José De La Cruz-Agüero
  • Francisco Javier Vergara-Solana
  • Francisco Javier García-Rodríguez
Original Paper


The genus Eucinostomus Baird 1855, is the most diverse and taxonomically complicated group of the family Gerreidae in the Neotropics. Since its diagnosis the specific composition of the genus has been controversial. This genus is limited to the tropical and subtropical America, except for one species, the Atlantic flagfin mojarra E. melanopterus (Bleeker 1863), which also occurs along the eastern Atlantic. Otherwise, the silver mojarra E. argenteus Baird & Girard 1855, is the only species that has been cited as inhabiting both coasts of the American continent, although several authors have denied its occurrence in the tropical eastern Pacific. Besides, Dow’s mojarra, E. dowii (Gill, 1863), inhabitants of the tropical eastern Pacific are considered by some authors as synonymous for E. argenteus, and this latter species, at the same time, has been confused with other tropical eastern Pacific species: the dark-spot mojarra E. entomelas Zahuranec in Yáñez-Arancibia, 1980). Recently, molecular analyses provided evidence for these three Neotropical Eucinostomus species that show strong divergence, as would be expected between any pair of marine fish species. To evaluate the morphological evidence of these species along the coasts of Mexico and compare the results from different identification techniques, these species were sampled throughout their range in Mexico. Geometric morphometrics revealed that each species is morphologically distinct, confirming the evidence from sequences of DNA that they are not synonymous, but different evolutionary entities. A new combination of biometrical traits is presented to permit unambiguously identify the species.


Taxonomy Morphology Identification key Mojarras Neotropics 



We thank many colleagues and technicians who encouraged us and assisted in this work, especially all the members of the CI-CICIMAR. We thank S. Hewet (Smithsonian Institution) for radiographs of the material type of Gerreidae and to Martha E. Valdez-Moreno and Janneth A. Padilla-Saldívar of Ecosur-U Chetumal) for lending specimens. To José T. Nieto-Navarro and Arturo Tripp-Valdez for donated specimens, David Sheets provided advice on morphometric techniques and to Pablo Ariel Martínez for his useful comments to the manuscript. Also thanks to Ira Fogel for proofreading and editing the English version the manuscript. FJVS was a recipient of a fellowship and Grants by CONACYT, PIFI-IPN, and COFAA-IPN. FJGR and JDA are fellows of the Comisión para el Fomento de las Actividades Académicas (COFAA-IPN), Estímulo al Desempeño de los Investigadores (EDI-IPN), and Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (SNI-CONACyT). This study was funded by Grants from the Secretarıa de Investigacion y Posgrado, Instituto Politecnico Nacional (SIP-IPN-20131432 and SIP-IPN-20141292). The anonymous reviewers are greatly acknowledged for their constructive comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • José De La Cruz-Agüero
    • 1
  • Francisco Javier Vergara-Solana
    • 1
  • Francisco Javier García-Rodríguez
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Politécnico NacionalCentro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas, Colección IctiológicaLa PazMexico

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