The ballan wrasse, Labrus bergylta (Labridae), is a protogynous hermaphrodite fish common in the north-eastern Atlantic from Norway to Morocco. It is a commercially important resource for local fisheries and is currently being used as cleaner fish to control sea lice in salmon farms in northern Europe. Two distinct colour patterns have been recently reported in the literature: plain and spotted. These individuals follow strikingly different life history strategies raising the question of whether they represent one or two independent taxonomic units. Analyses of mitochondrial (18S, COI and control region) and nuclear (S7) markers revealed no genetic differences between these morphotypes. Alternative explanations for the origin and persistence of distinct morphotypes are discussed. © 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We thank the help of Patricia Carvalho during field work at Madeira and Sergio Bexiga, Catarina Craveiro, Filipe Tadeu, Ana Patricia Rafael, Catarina Chaves and Ines Castanheira with DNA sequencing. This study was funded by the Eco-Ethology Research Unit' Strategic Plan (PEst-OE/MAR/UI0331/2011)-Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia-FCT (partially FEDER funded). F.A. (SFRH/BPD/63170/2009) and S.M.F. (SFRH/BPD/84923/2012) were supported by FCT grants. D.V.R. was supported by a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme (Grant No. 625852).