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Morphological, morphometric, meristic and osteological evidence for two species of hake (Actinopterygii: Gadiformes: Merluccius) in Argentinean waters

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Morphologically, both classic and landmark-based morphometry and meristic analyses of 241 specimens of Merluccius, along with the re-examination of six paratype specimens of Merluccius hubbsi, the holotype and three paratypes of Merluccius patagonicus and the syntype of Merluccius australis revealed the presence of only two species of Merluccius in Argentinean waters. Internal structures (hyomandibula, urohyal and sagitta otolith) of M. hubbsi were compared to those reported for M. patagonicus and were shown to have identical morphology. Type specimens of M. patagonicus showed a complete overlap in morphometric and meristic characters with M. hubbsi, whereas M. australis had a greater number of second dorsal and anal-fin rays, and more lateral-line scales. In addition, M. australis had a smaller eye and longer snout than M. hubbsi and M. patagonicus. The results indicate that there is no evidence for a third hake species in Argentinean waters. Merluccius patagonicus is a synonym of M. hubbsi.

Keywords: M. australis; M. hubbsi; M. patagonicus; Patagonia; landmarks

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP), Paseo Victoria Ocampo N° 1, Escollera Norte, B7602HSA Mar del Plata, República Argentina 2: Departamento de Ciencias Marinas, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata. Funes 3350, B7602AYL Mar del Plata, República Argentina

Publication date: May 1, 2011


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