Recent research hypothesised that the Siculo-Tunisian Strait might fit, at least for some species, the picture of a genetic transitional zone instead of a sharp genetic break between the Western and Eastern Mediterranean basins. The present study aimed at using the common Octopus, Octopus vulgaris as an empirical test-case to evaluate this hypothesis. To accomplish this goal, 458 new sequences of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase subunit I were used. Combining the new sequences with those available on public databases, we assembled a dataset containing 920 sequences to investigate the spatial genetic patterns across 34 Mediterranean populations of O. vulgaris. The genetic structure of this species was assessed combining analysis of molecular variance and Median-Joining networks. Results supported the hypothesis of a complex spatial genetic pattern across the Sicilian channel. Contemporary factors, such as marine currents, likely affect the species’ genetic structuring across this area. Overall, our results highlighted that focusing the attention on the whole transitional area rather than on a unique genetic break might help to detect similar patterns across different species. Finally, acknowledging the occurrence of complex spatial genetic patterns across transitional zones may improve stock identification and management practices for commercially valuable species.
Spatial genetic patterns of Octopus vulgaris Mediterranean populations support the hypothesis of a transitional zone across the Siculo-Tunisian Strait / Fadhlaoui-Zid, K.; Cossu, P.; Sanna, D.; Scarpa, F.; Lai, T.; Castelli, A.; Casu, M.; Maltagliati, F.. - In: HYDROBIOLOGIA. - ISSN 0018-8158. - (2021). [10.1007/s10750-021-04634-6]