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Evidence of phenotypic plasticity in Alloteuthis media (Linnaeus, 1758) from morphological analyses on North Sea specimens and DNA barcoding of the genus Alloteuthis Wülker, 1920 across its latitudinal range

ORCID
0000-0002-3664-193X
Affiliation
School of Natural Sciences & Ryan Institute, University of Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland
Sheerin, Edel;
ORCID
0000-0001-7351-2451
Affiliation
School of Natural Sciences & Ryan Institute, University of Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland
Power, Anne Marie;
GND
101262255X
ORCID
0000-0002-1093-4283
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries, Alter Hafen Süd 2, Rostock, Germany
Oesterwind, Daniel;
Affiliation
Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries, Alter Hafen Süd 2, Rostock, Germany
Haak, David;
ORCID
0000-0003-1371-3715
Affiliation
Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO-CSIC), Centro Oceanográfico de Vigo, Vigo, Spain
Abad, Esther;
Affiliation
School of Natural Sciences & Ryan Institute, University of Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland
Barnwall, Leigh;
ORCID
0000-0001-6734-2951
Affiliation
School of Natural Sciences & Ryan Institute, University of Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland
Petroni, Michael;
GND
1056616342
ORCID
0000-0001-9747-017X
Affiliation
Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO-CSIC), Centro Oceanográfico de Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain
Sobrino, Ignacio;
Affiliation
Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO-CSIC), Centro Oceanográfico de Vigo, Vigo, Spain
Valeiras, Julio;
ORCID
0000-0002-4806-0040
Affiliation
School of Natural Sciences & Ryan Institute, University of Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland
Allcock, A. Louise

Despite being landed in commercial cephalopod fisheries, species of Alloteuthis are not yet well defined, with A. subulata and A. media often confused. DNA barcoding combined with morphometric analyses has begun to clarify the distinction between these two morphologically similar species but has been limited in its geographic coverage to date. Herein, we provide DNA barcodes for 228 specimens collected from Guinea Bissau in the south, up the Atlantic coast, to the Irish shelf and North Sea. Employing species delimitation analyses, and with comparison to the literature, we identified 24 individuals of A. africana, 66 individuals of A. subulata and 138 individuals of A. media. We confirm that A. media has the northernmost distribution and is the only species identified by DNA sequencing from the Irish shelf and North Sea. We analysed morphometric measures and indices from 388 individuals from the North Sea, a subset of which (n = 58) were barcoded. The most useful traits for identification were tail length as a percentage of dorsal mantle length, and largest club sucker width as a percentage of head width. By comparison to other published data, we determined that A. media phenotypes vary substantially across the geographic range of this species. This partly explains the difficulties in morphological identification and suggests regional identification guides may be required in support of fisheries management. Interregional analyses suggest character displacement may occur where species co-exist.

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