Morphological assessment of the Octopus vulgaris species-complex evaluated in light of molecular-based phylogenetic inferences

Amor, Michael D., Norman, Mark D., Roura, Alvaro, Leite, Tatiana S., Gleadall, Ian G., Reid, Amanda, Perales-Raya, Catalina, Lu, Chung-Cheng, Silvey, Colin J., Vidal, Erica A.G., Hochberg, Frederick G., Zheng, Xiaodong, and Strugnell, Jan M. (2016) Morphological assessment of the Octopus vulgaris species-complex evaluated in light of molecular-based phylogenetic inferences. Zoologica Scripta, 46 (3). pp. 275-288.

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Cryptic species are common in the ocean, particularly among marine invertebrates such as octopuses. Delineating cryptic species is particularly problematic in octopus taxonomy where the plasticity recorded among taxonomic characters often results in low resolution at the species level. This study investigated the morphological relationships among seven phylogenetic clades (identified using cytochrome c oxidase subunit I) of the broadly distributed Octopus vulgaris species complex and close relatives. Morphological analyses in this study were successful in delimiting O. sinensis, Brazilian O. vulgaris and O. vulgaris sensu stricto, which was congruent with the molecular findings of this study. Analyses based on male morphology were successful in distinguishing 14 of 15 total pairwise comparisons and proved to be a more reliable indicator of species-level relationships in comparison with female morphology. The majority of characters with the greatest discriminatory power were male sexual traits. Significant morphological differences were also recorded among sampling localities of conspecifics, with phenotype showing correlation with local environmental data. The findings of this study support the hypothesis that multiple O. vulgaris-like species are currently being incorrectly treated under a single species name, O. vulgaris. Octopuses being exported globally under the name O. vulgaris are of extremely high fisheries market value and profile. Our findings have potentially significant implications for the naming and conservation of commercially harvested members of this species complex throughout their ranges.

Item ID: 47921
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1463-6409
Keywords: octopus; Octopodidae; morphology; phylogenetic
Funders: Japan Science and Technology Agency (JSTA), Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA/ ICMBio), CNPq, Brazil, CAPES
Projects and Grants: JSTA #J130000263, CNPq #559863/2008-0 & 481491/2013-9, CAPES #043/2013
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2017 23:36
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310913 Invertebrate biology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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