Fourteen snapper species belonging to the three genera (Lutjanus and two monotypic genera Ocyurus and Rhomboplites) of the subfamily Lutjaninae have been described in the western Atlantic. Electrophoretic (on 25 enzyme loci) and skull morphometric (by analysis of
variance and discriminant analysis) comparisons among seven species of the three genera were performed. Average Nei's genetic distances were 0.566 ± 0.207 among five species of Lutjanus, 0.687 ± 0.148 between five species of Lutjanus and O. chrysurus, 0.869
± 0.224 between five species of Lutjanus and R. aurorubens, and 0.877 between O. chrysurus and R. aurorubens. Cluster and additive tree analyses based on the genetic distance indicated that: 1) there are at least two distinct groups (gray and red snapper
groups) within the genus Lutjanus; 2) the lane snapper (L. synagris) has a closer relationship with the red snapper group (L. analis and L. vivanus) than with the gray snapper group (L. apodus and L. griseus); and 3) there is a closer relationship
between Lutjanus and O. chrysurus than between R. aurorubens and Lutjanus or O. chrysurus. On the other hand, the skull morphometric analysis indicated that: 1) the lane snapper (L. synagris) has greater affinity with the gray snapper group than with
L. analis (red snapper); and 2) although O. chrysurus has some affinities with R. aurorubens, this monotypic genus showed much less distance than R. aurorubells from the Lutjanus group.
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