Vol. 60, 2021
Otolith Morphology: A Hidden Tool in the Taxonomic Study of Goatfishes (Teleostei: Perciformes: Mullidae)
and Molecular Systematics Laboratory, Zoology Section, Biology
Department, School of Science, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran.
*Correspondence: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Esmaeili).
Received 13 December 2020 / Accepted 19 April 2021
(Teleostei, Mullidae) are a group of mainly coastal fishes that form an
important part of food chains, and also have a commercial value. In the
marine waters of Iran, they are found in the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea
(Gulf of Oman). This study is conducted to evaluate if otolith
morphology could be used for the separation of species and genera, and
also to interpret if otoliths of the same species differ among two
studied marine systems. To do this objective, the otolith morphology of
ten species belonging to three genera were analyzed by SEM photography
and shape analysis. Among the morphometric variables, relative rostrum
length was found to be the most important otolith variable to
discriminate Mulloidichthys (RRL = 32.29 ± 0.59) and Parupeneus (RRL = 37.39 ± 1.10), while rectangularity (REx) was the most important shape index to discriminate Mulloidichthys (REx = 0.99 ± 1.94) from Parupeneus
(REx = 0.77 ± 1.21). By considering otolith morphology, Upeneus showed
a better separation than the two other genera. The otoliths of Upeneus
are diagnosed by short dorsal length (RDL = 69.35 ± 1.51), higher
rostrum height (RRH = 53.63 ± 1.99), short rostrum (RRL = 31.12 ±
1.99), and antirostrum lengths (RanL = 12.38 ± 1.51). The most diverged
phenotype within the genus Parupeneus was found for the otoliths of P. rubescens, and the most diverged phenotype within the genus Upeneus was found for the otoliths of U. sundaicus.
The otoliths of the same species did not demonstrate large variation
between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. This study provides
additional morphological evidence for the separation of goatfishes at
the species and genus level. Also, it is underlined that the slight
observed differences between the otoliths of two marine systems are
mainly caused by the ecological differences known between these two
Key words: Sagitta, Marine fish, Scanning Electron Microscope, Shape analysis, Phenotypic divergence.
Echreshavi S, Esmaeili HR, Teimori A, Safaie M. 2021. Otolith
morphology: a hidden tool in the taxonomic study of goatfishes
(Teleostei: Perciformes: Mullidae). Zool Stud 60:0jj. doi:-.
Supplementary Materials: Appendix 1