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Genetic and morphological differentiation of the mangrove crab Perisesarma guttatum (Brachyura: Sesarmidae) along an East African latitudinal gradient

Authors

  • INÊS C. SILVA,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centro de Oceanografia – Laboratório Marítimo da Guia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Avenida Nossa Senhora do Cabo 939, 2750-374 Cascais, Portugal
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  • NATACHA MESQUITA,

    1. Museu Nacional de História Natural, Universidade de Lisboa, Rua da Escola Politécnica 58, 1269-102 Lisboa, Portugal
    2. Centro de Biologia Ambiental, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
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  • JOSÉ PAULA

    1. Centro de Oceanografia – Laboratório Marítimo da Guia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Avenida Nossa Senhora do Cabo 939, 2750-374 Cascais, Portugal
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E-mail: micsilva@fc.ul.pt

Abstract

The genetic structure and morphometric differentiation of mangrove crab Perisesarma guttatum populations were examined among shelf connected locations along a latitudinal gradient on the East African coast. Over 2200 specimens were sampled from 23 mangrove sites for geometric morphometrics analysis. Population genetic analyses of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) DNA sequences were used to evaluate connectivity among populations. A total of 73 haplotypes were detected, and almost no haplotypes were found in common between two highly supported phylogeographic clades: southern Mozambique (Inhaca Island and Maputo Bay) and a northern clade that included north Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya. These two clades were identified based on the species' populations pairwise genetic differentiation and geographical location. ΦST values were considerably high between the two clades, indicating the presence of significant population genetic structure between Kenya and South Mozambique. However, each clade was composed of genetically similar populations along the latitudinal gradient, and no significant population structure was found within each clade because the Φst values were not significant. The morphometric analysis corroborated the division into two clades (i.e. Inhaca Island/Maputo Bay and northern populations) and also detected less shape variation among populations that were few kilometres apart. The significant spatial genetic structuring between the southern and the northern populations of P. guttatum along the geographic gradient under study, combined with morphological differences, suggests that these populations may be considered as cryptic species. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 99, 28–46.

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