Interrelationships of and within Breviraja Based on Anatomical Structures (Pisces: Rajoidei)
Claspers, neurocrania, scapulocoracoids and vertebral numbers of 11 of the 12 species currently classified in Breviraja were compared with each other and with those of Raja subgenera thought to be related to Breviraja. On its rostral morphology, B. yucatanensis was reallocated to the genus Raja. The remainder of Breviraja, including an undescribed species discovered during the study, consists of three morphological groups, possesses a number of derived character states for rajoids and, as presently constituted, is paraphyletic. The first group, consisting of B. colesi and B. spinosa, is the apomorphic sister group of Raja (Leucoraja). The second group, B. caerulea, B. stehmanni and B. sp., is the apomorphic sister group of Raja (Malacoraja). The third group, B. sinusmexicanus, B. sibogae, B. ishiyamai, B. cubensis, B. plutonia and B. atripinna, plus Gurgesiella, is the apomorphic sister group of the second group. Gurgesiella is the apomorphic sister group of the third group. Present information is not sufficient to determine the interrelationships within the second group. Interrelationships within the third group are tentative because of specific variation and paucity of synapomorphies. B. sinusmexicanus and B. sibogae share one synapomorphic and two plesiomorphic character states suggesting that they are sister species. The other four species share a synapomorphic character state suggesting that they, plus Gurgesiella, form the apomorphic sister group of B. sinusmexicanus and B. sibogae. B. cubensis, B. plutonia, B. atripinna and Gurgesiella share a synapomorphy suggesting that they form the apomorphic sister group of B. ishiyamai. B. cubensis and B. plutonia share two synapomorphies suggesting that they are sister species. B. atripinna possesses an autapomorphy and two synapomorphies with Gurgesiella suggesting that it plus Gurgesiella form the apomorphic sister group of B. cubensis and B. plutonia. Interrelationships of the three groups of Breviraja necessitate the restriction of Breviraja to the first group, B. colesi and B. spinosa; and the erection of a new genus, Neoraja, and two subgenera, Neoraja and Fenestraja for the second and third groups.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: April 1, 1982
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