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A new Angel Shark species?

By Massiel Alfonso González, 10th May 2023

In my previous blog, I talked about the process of obtaining the sequences of the genes of interest. Now, I already have results!

Species delimitation methods based on genetic evidence do not support the existence of more than one taxonomic entity; however, we found important genetic differentiation among the populations sampled. The results obtained reveal the presence of at least two evolutionary units: one corresponding to the Gulf of California and another to the Northeast Pacific. The presence of exclusive haplotypes from each region and the absence of shared haplotypes between both regions suggest that these are isolated and the gene flow is limited or even absent. This evidence, together with the reproductive and morphological differentiation that have been reported in previous studies, may indicate that the speciation process is ongoing but has not finished yet. In this sense, we propose distinguishing two management and conservation units: the Gulf of California vs the Northeast Pacific.

Haplotype network obtained for Cytochrome C oxidase (COI) gene for individuals of S. californica sampled in the Gulf of California and Northeast Pacific. The triangles represent the sampling sites. Figure © Massiel Alfonso González

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