Lutjanus Ambiguus (Poey), a Natural Intergeneric Hybrid of Ocyurus Chrysurus (Bloch) and Lutjanus Synagris (Linnaeus)
Abstract:Poey (1860) described Mesoprion (=Lutjanus) ambiguus, a peculiar snapper that he thought might be a natural hybrid between Ocyurus chrysurus and Lutjanus synagris. Since its description, L. ambiguus has been declared a valid species by some authors, a hybrid by others. In this paper I present evidence for the hybrid origin of L. ambiguus. Fewer than thirty records for L. ambiguus exist in museums or in the literature, yet all collection data indicate it is a shallow-water coastal species inhabiting a heavily fished region. Its apparent rarity would be surprising for a valid species, but not so for a hybrid fish. L. ambiguus has been collected only at locations where the ranges of the supposed parental species overlap. Similarly an analysis of the spawning patterns and seasonality of shallow-water snappers demonstrates that O. chrysurus and L. synagris would be one of the most likely pairs to produce a natural hybrid. The meristic data, size and shape of the fins, and the life colors of L. ambiguus overlap or are intermediate between those of the proposed parental forms. The comparison of 18 meristic and morphometric characters from the presumed parental forms and the hybrid, using the Hubbs and Kuronuma (1941) Hybrid Index, yielded a mean index value of 42% for L. ambiguus. demonstrating the intermediacy of its morphology. Principal components analysis of the three groups also showed the intermediate placement of the specimens of L. ambiguus. The data strongly imply that L. ambiguus is a natural hybrid between two nominally distinct genera. Because Ocyurus chrysurus occasionally seems to hybridize with several species of Lutjanus in nature, the genera may be nearer in relationship than is indicated by the presently accepted classification.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 1992
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