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Multivariate morphological analyses in continental and island populations of Abudefduf saxatilis (Linnaeus) (Pomacentridae, Perciformes) of western Atlantic

Multivariate morphological analyses in continental and island populations of Abudefduf saxatilis (Linnaeus) (Pomacentridae, Perciformes) of western Atlantic

Pan-American Journal of Aquatic Sciences 12: 49-56

The reef species Abudefduf saxatilis (Linnaeus, 1758) is usually considered as a single large Western Atlantic population distributed in reef habitats from northern United States (Rhode Island) to Uruguay. However, principal components and canonical variables analyses of samples distributed along the Brazilian coast (Rio Grande do Norte, Ceara, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina states), and oceanic islands of Atol das Rocas and St. Paul's Rocks, showed morphological variation, which could suggest subdivisions among different populations. Clinal variations of meristic traits along the northsouth direction seem to have temperature as their main causative factor. Also, there was a greater similarity among contiguous populations that become more differentiated with distance. In this context, the Brazilian Current flowing, in north-south direction, seems to play an important dispersive role. There were differences between insular and continental populations, which suggest the occurrence of selfrecruitment either by a possible existence of circular currents, an active larval role and/or a possible selection for an optimal egg-laying period leading to restrictions in their dispersion. Thus, phenetic divergences seem to suggest restrictions to the genetic flow in the South Atlantic A. saxatilis popu

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