The Taxonomic Status and Intraspecific Differentiation of the Black Sea Horse Mackerel, Trachurus mediterraneus ponticus (Aleev, 1956) (Carangidae)
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The taxonomic status of the horse mackerel, Trachurus mediterraneus ponticus (Aleev, 1956), which inhabits the Black Sea, has been clarified based on the analysis of variation in the nucleotide sequence of the mtDNA cytochrome b (Cyt-b) locus. A comparison of this species with the horse mackerel from the Mediterranean basin and the World Ocean has shown that the Black Sea horse mackerel is neither an independent species nor a subspecies and can only be qualified as the species Trachurus mediterraneus (Steindachner, 1868) distributed throughout the Mediterranean Sea basin. A hypothesis has been made about the possible cause of the origin and existence of two forms, “large” and “small”, of the horse mackerel. By using the technique of calculating ontogenetic trajectories, it has been found that these are two morpho-ecological forms, whose differentiation is most likely determined by the type of feeding.
Keywordshorse mackerel molecular genetic analysis mtDNA Cyt-b taxonomy phylogeny morpho-ecological diversification
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