The genetic and morphological structure of Patella candei in the Macaronesian Islands were studied by allozyme electrophoresis and multivariate analysis (canonical discriminant analysis), respectively. Sixteen enzymes, yielding 21 resolvable loci were analysed for all populations using the BIOSYS-1 program. A disjunct distribution of genetically similar populations from the Azores and Selvagens Islands (P.c. gomesii–P.c. candei) was found, which showed two diagnostic loci with P.c. ordinaria from Madeira. Patella c. crenata from the Canaries showed an intermediate composition of 92%P.c. ordinaria and 8%P.c. gomesii–P.c. candei. Hypotheses are presented to explain the evolution of the genetic and morphological structure of P.c. candei in the Macaronesian Islands, including the interaction of natural processes and human intervention. Patella c. candei is considered to represent the ancestral form. An extinction or near extinction event may have happened in Madeira after which P.c. ordinaria arose, carrying only a small part of the diversity of the original form, which evolved in isolation. The ancestral form, P.c. candei, was depleted by human extraction from high levels of the shore in the Azores and Canaries. Patella c. gomesii, from the Azores evolved by phyletic evolution, colonizing low levels of the shore, leaving only a relict population in the Selvagens Islands, that remained almost free of human exploitation. Patella c. crenata is a hybrid with a high degree of introgression to P.c. ordinaria, which is maintained by the forces of human extraction at high-tide levels and by intraspecific competition at low-tide levels. © 2002 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2002, 77, 341−353.
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Document Type: Research Article
Port Erin Marine Laboratory, University of Liverpool, Isle of Man
Biodiversity and Ecology Division, School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Boldrewood Building, Southampton
Publication date: 01 November 2002