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Lack of divergence between 16S mtDNA sequences of the swimming crabs Callinectes bocourti and C. maracaiboensis (Brachyura: Portunidae) from Venezuela
Schubart, C.D.; Conde, J.E.; Carmona-Suárez, C.; Robles, R.; Felder, D.L. (2001). Lack of divergence between 16S mtDNA sequences of the swimming crabs Callinectes bocourti and C. maracaiboensis (Brachyura: Portunidae) from Venezuela. Fish. Bull. 99(3): 475-481
In: Fishery Bulletin. US Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C.. ISSN 0090-0656, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Blue crabs; Evolution; Mercenaria; Trees; Trees; Trees; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Schubart, C.D.
  • Conde, J.E.
  • Carmona-Suárez, C.
  • Robles, R.
  • Felder, D.L.

Abstract
    Lake Maracaibo, a large Venezuelan estuarine lagoon, is reportedly inhabited by three species of the genus Callinectes Stimpson, 1860 that are important to local fisheries: C. sapidus Rathbun, 1896, C. bocourti A. Milne Edwards, 1879, and C. maracaiboensis Taissoun, 1969. Callinectes maracaiboensis, originally described from Lake Maracaibo and assumed endemic to those waters, has recently been reported from other Caribbean localities and Brazil, However, because characters separating it from the morphologically similar C. bocourti are noted to be vague, we have compared these species and several congeners by molecular methods. Among our specimens from Lake Maracaibo and other parts of the Venezuelan coast, those assignable to C. bocourti and C. maracaiboensis on the basis of putatively diagnostic characters in coloration and structural characteristics do not differ in their 16S mtDNA sequences. These molecular results and our re-examination of supposed morphological differences between these species suggest that C. maracaiboensis is a junior synonym of C. bocourti, which varies markedly in minor features of coloration and structural characteristics. Genetic relationships of this species to other species of swimming crabs of the genus Callinectes are also explored and presented as phylogenetic trees.

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