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A study of osteological and molecular differences in populations of Aphanius fasciatus Nardo 1827, from the central Mediterranean (Teleostei, Cyprinodontidae)

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Abstract

Nine populations of Aphanius fasciatus Nardo, 1827 from the central Mediterranean were analysed by examining the mitochondrial control region and the morphology of the bony elements of the skull and vertebral column, to study the degree of intraspecific differentiation of A. fasciatus considering the level of isolation of the different populations and the palaeogeographic history of the central Mediterranean area. Both the molecular and morphological analyses differentiate between the populations, even if the topologies of the two trees are different. Molecular and osteological investigations have consistently demonstrated a well-supported differentiation of the south-eastern Sicilian populations both within the same group (Tigano et al. in Ital J Zool 71:1124–1133, 2004a; Tigano et al. in Abstract volume XI European Congress of Ichthyology, Tallin, Estonia, 2004b), and from the populations from western Sicily, Tunisia and the island of Malta. The molecular results show that the nine populations are characterised by haplotypes that are well defined in relation to a probably limited gene flow; while, as regards the morphological data the differentiation found could be explained in terms of the geographic isolation of the various populations, although the influence of environmental factors, which differ greatly between the various sites where the populations live, cannot be ruled out.

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Acknowledgements

We wish to thank Prof. G. Lunetta and Dr. A. Mazza from the Dipartimento di Economia e Territorio, University of Catania, Italy, for their valuable suggestions about statistical analysis. Prof. M. Grasso from the Dipartimento di Geologia, University of Catania, for his valuable suggestions about the interpretation of the palaeogeographic events in the Central Mediterranean, and Prof. S. Nouira and Dr. A. Santulli for their help in the collection of samples in Tunis and in Trapani, respectively. We thank the Environment Protection Directorate of the Malta Environment and Planning Authority for permission to work on this protected species in Malta and for access to the Ghadira Bird Sanctuary; we are grateful to Mr Charles Gauci, the warden in charge of the sanctuary, for facilitating our work.

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Correspondence to Concetta Tigano.

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Communicated by R. Cattaneo-Vietti, Genova

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Tigano, C., Canapa, A., Ferrito, V. et al. A study of osteological and molecular differences in populations of Aphanius fasciatus Nardo 1827, from the central Mediterranean (Teleostei, Cyprinodontidae). Mar Biol 149, 1539–1550 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-006-0300-x

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