Geographical and morphological variation within and between colour phases in Coris julis (L. 1758), a protogynous marine fish




The possible differences between sexes in patterns of morphological variation in geographical space have been explored only in gonochorist freshwater species. We explored patterns of body shape variation in geographical space in a marine sequential hermaphrodite species, Coris julis (L. 1758), analyzing variation both within and between colour phases, through the use of geometric morphometrics and spatially-explicit statistical analyses. We also tested for the association of body shape with two environmental variables: temperature and chlorophyll a concentration, as obtained from time-series of satellite-derived data. Both colour phases showed a significant morphological variation in geographical space and patterns of variation divergent between phases. Although the morphological variation was qualitatively similar, individuals in the initial colour phase showed a more marked variation than individuals in the terminal phase. Body shape showed a weak but significant correlation with environmental variables, which was more pronounced in primary specimens. © 2011 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2011, 104, 148–162.