Shaken not stirred: A molecular contribution to the systematics of genus Mugil (Teleostei, Mugilidae)

Sandra Heras, Ferruccio Maltagliati, Maria Victoria FernÁndez, María Inés RoldÁn

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With this work we addressed some molecular systematic issues within the Mugil cephalus species complex. Particular attention was paid to the debated situations of: (i) Mugil liza, occurring in partial sympatry with Mugil cephalus in the northwestern Atlantic, and (ii) Mugil platanus, considered by some authors a synonymy of the former species and distributed in the southwestern Atlantic. We sequenced 79 individuals of a 465-bp portion of the mitochondrial control region (CR) from 8 western Atlantic and 2 Mediterranean localities. In addition, all CR sequences available from GenBank for the studied taxa were added to our dataset, for a total of 323 individuals. Overall, 229 haplotypes corresponding to 8 divergent monophyletic lineages were detected. Results of phylogenetic analyses were consistent with the occurrence of past speciation events producing the observed lineages. Of these lineages, 7 correspond to cryptic species and one is constituted by M. liza and M. platanus. As a matter of fact, these 2 taxa constitute a single lineage within the M. cephalus species complex. However, individuals of M. liza/M. platanus lineage analyzed by means of the 18 mitochondrial markers available in GenBank exhibited a degree of genetic diversity consistent with highly divergent populations. Of the 8 lineages detected, the Mediterraean one (type locality) corresponds to M. cephalus; the lineage M. liza/M. platanus should be named M. liza, under the priority principle, and the left 6 lineages need formal description.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-281
Number of pages19
JournalIntegrative Zoology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Mugil
  • cryptic species
  • historical demography
  • molecular phylogeny
  • systematics


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