, Volume 602, Issue 1, pp 47–59 | Cite as

Morphological analysis of geographic variation of sea lamprey ammocoetes in Portuguese river basins

  • P. R. AlmeidaEmail author
  • G. Tomaz
  • N. O. Andrade
  • B. R. Quintella


The main objective of this study was to compare the morphological variability of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus L.) larvae from the main Portuguese river basins. Samples were collected in rivers Minho, Lima, Cávado, Vouga, Mondego, Tejo and Guadiana. Specimens were analysed in terms of morphometric (linear body measures) and meristic (number of myomeres) characters to investigate the hypothesis of population fragmentation between river basins caused by some degree of homing behaviour. The discriminant analysis showed a morphological segregation of the studied populations based on the characters head, tail and branchial length. The discriminatory power of the meristic characters was comparatively weaker, with the number of trunk myomeres, and to some extent the head myomeres, being responsible for the reduced separation between groups. Both analyses were consistent in identifying the cephalic region as the most important morphological feature to discriminate populations of sea lamprey larvae in the Portuguese territory. The largest cephalic region of the ammocoetes sampled in the northern river basins may be responsible for a better feeding efficiency and, consequently, higher values of condition factor.


Petromyzon marinus Morphometric Meristic Condition factor Transformers 



The authors especially thank J. L. Costa for advice and assistance with the statistical analysis. This research was financially supported by two Portuguese institutions, the Water Institute (INAG) of the Ministry of Environment and by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) with Project funding (PNAT/1999/BIA/15019/P) and a Ph.D. grant to B. R. Quintella (SFRH/BD/9125/2002).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. R. Almeida
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • G. Tomaz
    • 2
  • N. O. Andrade
    • 2
  • B. R. Quintella
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of EvoraEvoraPortugal
  2. 2.Institute of Oceanography, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of LisbonLisbonPortugal

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