Fisheries Research Articles

Molecular evidence of three species in the Pseudocaranx dentex complex (Carangidae) in Australian waters

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Marine and Freshwater Research


Print: 0028-8330 Electronic: 1175-8805


Aquaculture and Fisheries


The discovery and identification of species is fundamental to the documentation, conservation and management of biodiversity. The taxonomy of the antitropical Pseudocaranx dentex complex (Carangidae) is confused and inconsistently reported. Previous morphological analyses concluded that this complex consisted of three species, namely P. sp. ‘dentex’, P. georgianus and P. dinjerra, in Australian waters. This study used genetic (COI sequence) and morphological data to evaluate the validity of this conclusion. The COI data showed the presence of three discrete lineages within this complex, which appear to correspond to the above-mentioned three species. They also suggested that P. sp. ‘dentex’ is closely related to, and possibly the same species as, P. dentex from southern Africa and the Mediterranean Sea. Also, the extent of morphological and geographical overlap between P. georgianus and P. dinjerra was greater than previously documented which, uncorrected, could lead to identification errors and present challenges for monitoring and management of harvested stocks of these species. By answering important taxonomic questions, our results will facilitate the proper interpretation of the results of past studies and the design of future studies of the P. dentex complex. They have also highlighted the value of molecular data for identifying species in morphologically conservative taxa.



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