MEPS 554:99-113 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11799

Population connectivity and phylogeography of the Mediterranean endemic skate Raja polystigma and evidence of its hybridization with the parapatric sibling R. montagui

N. Frodella1,*, R. Cannas2,10,*, A. Velonà1, P. Carbonara3,10, E. D. Farrell4, F. Fiorentino5,10, M. C. Follesa2,10, G. Garofalo5,10, F. Hemida6,10, C. Mancusi7,10, M. Stagioni8,10, N. Ungaro9, F. Serena7,10, F. Tinti1,8,10,**, A. Cariani1,10

1Department of Biological, Geological & Environmental Sciences (BiGeA), Laboratory of Genetics & Genomics of Marine Resources and Environment (GenoDREAM), University of Bologna - Campus of Ravenna, via Sant’Alberto 163, 48123 Ravenna, Italy
2Department of Life & Environmental Sciences (DISVA), University of Cagliari, via Fiorelli 1, 09126 Cagliari, Italy
3COISPA Tecnologia & Ricerca, Via Lama Di Giotta, 70126 Bari, Italy
4School of Biology & Environmental Science, Science Centre West, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
5National Research Council (CNR) - Institute for Coastal Marine Environment (IAMC), Via L. Vaccara, 61, 91026 Mazara del Vallo (TP), Italy
6Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Sciences de la Mer et de l’Aménagement du Littoral (ENSSMAL), Campus Universitaire de Dely Ibrahim Bois des Cars B.P. 19, 16320 Alger, Algeria
7Regional Agency for the Environmental Protection of Tuscany (ARPAT), Via Marradi 114, 57126 Livorno, Italy
8Department of Biological, Geological & Environmental Sciences (BiGeA), Laboratory of Marine Biology & Fishery, University of Bologna, viale Adriatico 1/n, 61032 Fano (PU), Italy
9Regional Agency for the Environmental Prevention & Protection of Apulia (ARPA), RU Marine & Coastal Biology, 70126 Bari, Italy
10ELASMOMED Consortium, Barcoding of Life Project, c/o Department of Biological, Geological & Environmental Sciences (BiGeA), University of Bologna, via Selmi 3, 40126 Bologna, Italy
*These authors contributed equally to this work**Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The genetic structure and population connectivity of the Mediterranean endemic speckled skate Raja polystigma were investigated in 10 population samples (N = 232) at 7 exon-primed nuclear microsatellites and at 3 mitochondrial DNA sequence markers. The phylogeographic and population genetic analyses revealed that R. polystigma in the western and central Mediterranean represents a near-panmictic population, with a subtle but significant mitochondrial divergence of the Adriatic deme. Nuclear genotypes revealed that 2.5% of the total individuals exhibited an admixed ancestry with the sibling species R. montagui (spotted ray). Individuals with admixed ancestry were detected along with purebred individuals in the Algerian, southern Tyrrhenian, Sicilian and Adriatic R. polystigma population samples, but they were absent or rare in Sardinian and northern Tyrrhenian ones. Since the 2 species co-occur in the southwestern Mediterranean, we suggested that this area may act as a secondary hybrid zone.


KEY WORDS: Speckled skate · Spotted ray · Species misidentification · Population connectivity · Admixed ancestry · Mediterranean · Mitochondrial DNA · Microsatellites · Secondary hybrid zone


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Cite this article as: Frodella N, Cannas R, Velonà A, Carbonara P and others (2016) Population connectivity and phylogeography of the Mediterranean endemic skate Raja polystigma and evidence of its hybridization with the parapatric sibling R. montagui. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 554:99-113. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11799

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