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Morphological and genetic variability in Hippolyte obliquimanus Dana, 1852 (Decapoda, Caridea, Hippolytidae) from Brazil and the Caribbean Sea

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Hippolyte obliquimanus is a marine shrimp reported from the Caribbean Sea and Brazil. The literature provides indications for morphological variation between populations from those regions and the species has a troubled taxonomic history. The aims of this study were to analyse morphological and genetic variation in the populations of H. obliquimanus from Brazil and the Caribbean Sea and to verify if those might support separation of H. obliquimanus into two or more species. This hypothesis was tested with the analysis of morphological and genetic data (mitochondrial gene 16S and the barcode region Cytochrome Oxidase I). The material analysed was obtained from samples and from loans of zoological collections. The rostrum as well as pereiopods 3, 4, and 5 were the adult morphological characters that showed variation, but this occurred in samples from both regions, Brazil and the Caribbean Sea. The sequences of the 16S gene were identical among all specimens analysed. There was, however, variation among the sequences of the barcoding gene COI (<2.0%); this divergence separated the specimens into two groups (Brazil versus the Caribbean) and these groups did not share haplotypes. In conclusion, specimens from the regions analysed showed both morphological and genetic variation, but these did not support the separation of H. obliquimanus into two or more species.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Bioecology and Crustacean Systematics, Postgraduate Program in Comparative Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP), University of São Paulo (USP), Av. Bandeirantes-3900, CEP 14040-901, Ribeirão Preto (SP), Brazil


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