, Volume 758, Issue 1, pp 19–30 | Cite as

Disparate past demographic histories of three small Scombridae (Actinopterygii) species in Tunisian waters

  • Hassen AllayaEmail author
  • Abderraouf Ben Faleh
  • Abdallah Hattour
  • Monia Trabelsi
  • Jordi ViñasEmail author
Primary Research Paper


The bullet tuna Auxis rochei, the little tunny Euthynnus alletteratus, and the Atlantic Chub mackerel Scomber colias are three small Scombridae with similar life-history traits such as overlapping epipelagic distribution and a shared spawning area in Tunisian waters. In this study, we compared the phylogeography and demographic histories of these species by analyzing the sequence variability of the mitochondrial DNA control region. None of the species showed genetic differentiation in their Tunisian distribution; however, we inferred three completely different population histories. E. alletteratus showed a demographic history of a very recent bottleneck followed by sudden population expansion probably consequence of a population decline in the Last Glacial Maximum. S. colias also presented a population expansion after collapse but in this case about ten-fold older than that observed in E. alletteratus. Finally, A. rochei presented a history of demographic stability. These contrasting population histories were discussed based on their possible differences in life-history traits, but the hypothesis of stochastic factors affecting the demography of these species was also invoked.


Small scombridae Bayesian skyline plots Contrasting demographic histories Mismatch distributions 



We thank Hajjej Ghailen for providing some Euthynnus alletteratus samples. We also are indebted to fishermen from localities where we took samples. We also thank Dr. Carles Pla and Dr. Oriol Vidal who help us in the laboratory process and data analysis.

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Compliance with ethics requirements

All work met the requirements stated by the Spanish (RD53/2013) and Catalonian (D214/1997) laws of animal care and experimentation.

Supplementary material

10750_2015_2261_MOESM1_ESM.docx (61 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 61 kb)


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine Biology Unit, Faculty of Sciences of TunisUniversity of Tunis-El ManarTunisTunisia
  2. 2.National Institute of Sea Sciences and Technologies (I.N.S.T.M)TunisTunisia
  3. 3.Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences of GafsaUniversity of GafsaGafsaTunisia
  4. 4.Laboratori Ictiologia Genètica, Departament de BiologiaUniversitat de GironaGironaSpain

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