Chromosomal polymorphism and molecular variability in the pearly razorfish Xyrichtys novacula (Labriformes, Labridae): taxonomic and biogeographic implications
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The pearly razorfish Xyrichtys novacula (Linnaeus, 1758) is a sedentary benthic species distributed in both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea. Previous cytogenetic analysis reported different diploid numbers in samples from Italy, Venezuela and Brazil. This research aims to test the hypothesis that samples from American Atlantic coast and Mediterranean Sea belong to the same single evolutionary lineage, characterized by intra-specific chromosome polymorphism. To this purpose a cytogenetic and molecular (mitochondrial COI sequences) survey was undertaken. Results revealed the existence of three different pearly razorfish molecular lineages: one present in Mediterranean Sea and two in the central and south American area, which are characterized by different karyotypes. One of these lineages shows substantial intra-population chromosomal polymorphism (2n = 45–48) determined by Robertsonian fusions that produce large metacentric chromosomes. On the whole data suggest that specimens morphologically identified as X. novacula correspond to three cryptic species.