Journal of the
Ocean Science Foundation

An open-access free online peer-reviewed Marine Biology Journal, since 2008.

published by the Ocean Science Foundation

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The cryptic cornucopia revisited- an extended analysis of the COI gene in the gobiid fish genus Trimma (Percomorpha: Gobiiformes)

Richard Winterbottom, Mary Burridge, Mark V. Erdmann, Robert R. Hanner, Margaret Zur, Claudia Steinke & Kristen Choffe


We present the results of a Neighbor-joining analysis of the partial mitochondrial 5' cytochrome c oxidase I gene (COI) from 849 samples of the gobiid fish genus Trimma, representing 87 of the 106 species currently regarded as valid (82%). We compare these results with those of Winterbottom et al. (2014c) who analyzed sequences of 473 specimens of this genus assigned to 46 of the 73 valid species at the time (63%). That study found 94 COI genetic lineages (as arbitrarily defined by more than or equal to 2% sequence divergence) as opposed to the 155 such lineages recognized here. Many of the multiple haplogroups grouped under a single species name appear to be genovariants, although in some cases color or morphologically congruent characters are known. Even though we are missing genetic samples from many localities a given species has been recorded from based on museum specimens, we found that 35 species (40% of the total species sampled) had a single haplogroup, with one or more samples collected from a single general locality. Another 25 species (29%) had a single haplogroup but with samples from two or more geographic localities (up to 6). The remaining 27 species (31%) exhibited two or more haplogroups (up to 8 in T. erdmanni), with a mean of 3.5 haplogroups/species. Each haplogroup occurred at a mean of 1.7 localities. In most cases, these haplogroups were separated geographically (although often not by large distances). An apparently similar situation in another small but very speciose Indo-Pacific goby, Eviota, is known but needs formal documentation. Future comparisons of the Indo-Pacific complexes with those from the Caribbean, where a somewhat similar situation occurs in at least one goby (Elacatinus), as well as certain labrisomid blennioids (e.g. Starksia), are suggested.



Winterbottom, R., Burridge, M., Erdmann, M.V., Hanner, R.H., Zur, M., Steinke, C. & Choffe, K. (2020) The cryptic cornucopia revisited- an extended analysis of the COI gene in the gobiid fish genus Trimma (Percomorpha: Gobiiformes). Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation, 36, 91-132.

publication date: 30 December 2020