Genetic variability of the blue and red shrimp Aristeus antennatus in the Western Mediterranean Sea inferred by DNA microsatellite loci


Rita Cannas, Dipartimento di Scienze della vita e dell’ambiente, Università degli Studi di Cagliari, via T. Fiorelli 1, 09126 Cagliari, Italy.E-mail:


Genetic variation at eight microsatellite loci was studied in nine populations of the blue and red shrimp Aristeus antennatus to investigate whether distinct stocks are present in the Western Mediterranean Sea. A high level of gene flow and no evidence of genetic partitioning were discovered. No significant variation was found (FST = 0.00673, P-value = 0.067) even when shrimps from exploited and those from deep-water unexploited grounds were compared. No evidence of reduction or expansion of population size in the recent past was found, as indicated by the bottleneck and interlocus g-tests. Our results are consistent with previous studies using mitochondrial gene methods and allozymes, indicating that, for this species, extensive pelagic larval dispersal and adult migration are probably responsible for the genetic homogeneity observed. In particular, due to a different bathymetric distribution of males and females, reported to be associated with different water masses and hence with possible differential dispersal capacity between sexes, the hypothesis of sex-biased dispersal was tested. Mean values of corrected assignment indices and mean relatedness values were higher for males, suggesting that females are the more widely dispersing sex. Molecular assessment of A. antennatus from the Western Mediterranean provides data of biological and evolutionary interest for the successful management of such a highly valuable fishery resource.