High genetic differentiation with no evidence of hybridisation between four limpet species (Patella spp.) revealed by allozyme loci
Alexandra Sá-Pinto, Paulo Alexandrino and Madalena Branco

The occurrence of hybridisation between limpet species of the genus Patella has always been a contentious issue. Although a previous allozyme study reported high differentiation and no hybridisation between Patella vulgata Linnaeus, 1758, Patella depressa Pennant, 1777 and Patella ulyssiponensis Gmelin, 1791 along English shores, the recent finding of an mtDNA haplotype of P. depressa in a P. vulgata individual raised new doubts on this issue. To further study the possibility of hybridisation between limpet species and their level of genetic differentiation, ten allozyme loci were screened using starch gel electrophoresis for P. ulyssiponensis, P. depressa, P. vulgata and Patella rustica Linnaeus, 1758, from the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Our results show high differentiation between species, which could be clearly separated into different clusters with a Bayesian clustering algorithm. No significant signs of hybridisation were detected between any of the four species. Thus, the hypothesis of hybridisation between P. vulgata and P. depressa across their sympatric distribution is not supported. Two sympatric clusters were recovered within P. vulgata that could be related to Hardy-Weinberg disequilibrium found in locus MPI. Finally, due to the high level of intraspecific variability, the studied loci are interesting tools for the analysis of population structure and stock identification.

Keywords: Patellidae, Patella spp., starch gel electrophoresis, allozymes, hybridisation, genetic polymorphism.
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 71(4) : 801-810 Back PDF
Please, send comments to
ICM (CSIC) - Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, 37-49. E-08003 Barcelona (Spain)