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Systematic relationships of sympatric pipefishes (Syngnathus spp.): A mismatch between morphological and molecular variation

TitleSystematic relationships of sympatric pipefishes (Syngnathus spp.): A mismatch between morphological and molecular variation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsGarcia E., Rice C.A, Eernisse D.J, Forsgren K.L, Quimbayo J.P, Rouse GW
Date Published2019/10
Type of ArticleArticle; Early Access
ISBN Number0022-1112
Accession NumberWOS:000486096800001
Keywordscalifornia; diversification; diversity; Fisheries; genetics; Marine & Freshwater Biology; morphological identification; patterns; phenotypic plasticity; phylogenetics; seahorses; Syngnathidae; synonyms

Analyses of mitochondrial DNA and morphological variation were performed on specimens of all five currently recognised Syngnathus pipefish species from the eastern Pacific Ocean with type localities currently considered to lie within the Californian marine biogeographic province: kelp pipefish Syngnathus californiensis, bay pipefish S. leptorhynchus, barred pipefish S. auliscus, barcheek pipefish S. exilis and chocolate pipefish S. euchrous. Results consistently differentiate S. auliscus from the other species and fail to distinguish all other specimens as distinct species, as indicated by extensive morphological overlap as well as incomplete lineage sorting and considerably low genetic divergence for 16s and coI genes(<1%). This study presents a taxonomic revision of eastern Pacific Syngnathus spp. and proposes the synonymy of S. leptorhynchus, S. euchrous and S. exilis, under the senior synonym, S. californiensis. There is still a need to study populations of Syngnathus spp. from north and south of the Californian province to assess whether these too are synonyms of the two-species recognised here.

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