Strong population structure despite evidence of recent migration in a selfing hermaphroditic vertebrate, the mangrove killifish (Kryptolebias marmoratus)


Andrey Tatarenkov, Fax: (949) 824 2181; E-mail:


We employ a battery of 33 polymorphic microsatellite loci to describe geographical population structure of the mangrove killifish (Kryptolebias marmoratus), the only vertebrate species known to have a mixed-mating system of selfing and outcrossing. Significant population genetic structure was detected at spatial scales ranging from tens to hundreds of kilometres in Florida, Belize, and the Bahamas. The wealth of genotypic information, coupled with the highly inbred nature of most killifish lineages due to predominant selfing, also permitted treatments of individual fish as units of analysis. Genetic clustering algorithms, neighbour-joining trees, factorial correspondence, and related methods all earmarked particular killifish specimens as products of recent outcross events that could often be provisionally linked to specific migration events. Although mutation is the ultimate source of genetic diversity in K. marmoratus, our data indicate that interlocality dispersal and outcross-mediated genetic recombination (and probably genetic drift also) play key proximate roles in the local ‘clonal’ dynamics of this species.