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Ontogenetic allometry of the bluemouth, Helicolenus dactylopterus dactylopterus (Teleostei: Scorpaenidae), in the Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean based on geometric morphometrics

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Abstract

The bluemouth, Helicolenus dactylopterus, is a deep-sea scorpionfish widely distributed in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean. It is a common by-catch associated to many demersal fisheries. However, there is little information about the stock structure, stock dynamics and life history parameters of the bluemouth. From the perspective of stock identification, it is important to study growth in fish populations to better understand the possible morphological differences among populations and when and why do they arise. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine the growth (allometric) trajectories of shape for several bluemouth populations in Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean using landmark-based geometric morphometric techniques. In this study, ontogenetic allometry was present in all of the bluemouth samples. Ontogenetic shape changes were most evident in the head and pectoral area, affecting the position of the snout, preopercular spines and pectoral fins, but changes in body depth and length were also important. However, the degree to which these ontogenetic shape changes were present in bluemouth from each of the studied areas was different, indicating that their growth trajectories are not homogeneous. The importance of this finding for size-correction of the shape variables in morphometric studies for stock identification is also discussed.

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Acknowledgments

RRM’s work was funded by a Marie Curie fellowship from the Early Stage Training site ECOSUMMER (MEST-CT-2005-020501) and a CONACyT-Mexico scholarship. This research was also supported by the project CTM2006-13964-C03-00 of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers whose comments and suggestions helped to improve this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Rebeca Rodríguez-Mendoza.

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Guest editors: Graham J. Pierce, Vasilis D. Valavanis, Begoña M. Santos & Julio M. Portela / Marine Ecosystems and Sustainability

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Rodríguez-Mendoza, R., Muñoz, M. & Saborido-Rey, F. Ontogenetic allometry of the bluemouth, Helicolenus dactylopterus dactylopterus (Teleostei: Scorpaenidae), in the Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean based on geometric morphometrics. Hydrobiologia 670, 5–22 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-011-0675-7

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