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Keywords:

  • body shape;
  • body size;
  • geometric morphometrics;
  • habitat;
  • hybridization;
  • ploidy level;
  • Squalius alburnoides complex

Abstract

Hybridization, ploidy level and genomic constitution may be important to respond to different environments, by producing different phenotypes and thus reducing competitive interaction. Through geometric morphometrics, we examined variation in body size and shape among biotypes of the Squalius alburnoides hybrid complex and their sperm donor (Squalius carolitertii). Results showed that S. carolitertii is significantly larger in size than the biotypes of the complex. No significant relationship was observed between ploidy and body size among S. alburnoides biotypes. Significant variation in body shape was found between S. carolitertii and S. alburnoides, and between tetraploids and the other biotypes. These differences in biotypes may reduce resource competition, highlighting the potential importance of resource availability favouring one biotype over another. In S. alburnoides, the adaptation to different trophic niches through modification of trophic morphology, body shapes, and feeding behaviour, may result from an increase in ploidy and genomic constitution. This adaptation may account also for the formation and maintenance of this nonsexual complex.