Divergence of cryptic species of Doryteuthis plei Blainville, 1823 (Loliginidae, Cephalopoda) in the Western Atlantic Ocean is associated with the formation of the Caribbean Sea

Authors Organisations
  • João Bráullio de L. Sales(Author)
    Federal University of Pará
  • Luis F. Da S. Rodrigues-Filho(Author)
    Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia
  • Yrlene do S. Ferreira(Author)
    Campus de Bragança Bragança/PA
  • Jeferson Carneiro(Author)
    Campus de Bragança Bragança/PA
  • Nils E. Asp(Author)
    Campus de Bragança Bragança/PA
  • Paul Shaw(Author)
  • Manuel Haimovici(Author)
    Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
  • Unai Markaida(Author)
    El Colegio da la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR)
  • Jonathan Ready(Author)
  • Horacio Schneider(Author)
    Campus de Bragança Bragança/PA
  • Iracilda Sampaio(Author)
    Campus de Bragança Bragança/PA
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-54
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Early online date15 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2017
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Although recent years have seen an increase in genetic analyses that identify new species of cephalopods and phylogeographic patterns, the loliginid squid of South America remain one of the least studied groups. The suggestion that Doryteuthis plei may represent distinct lineages within its extensive distribution along the western Atlantic coasts from Cape Hatteras, USA (36°N) to northern Argentina (35°S) is consistent with significant variation in a number of environmental variables along this range including in both temperature and salinity. In the present study D. plei samples were obtained from a large number of localities along the western Atlantic coasts to investigate the distribution of these possible species in a phylogeographic context. Phylogeographic analyses were performed using the mitochondrial Cytochrome Oxidase I gene and nuclear Rhodopsin gene. Divergence times were estimated using Bayesian strict clock dating with calibrations based on fossil records for divergence from the lineage containing Vampyroteuthis infernalis (162 mya), the probable origins of the North American loliginids (45 mya), and the European loliginids (20 mya) and fossil statolith from Doryteuthis opalescens (3 mya). Our results suggest a deep genetic divergence within Doryteuthis plei. The currently described specie consists of two genetically distinct clades (pair-wise genetic divergence of between 7.7 and 9.1%). One clade composed of individuals collected in northwestern Atlantic and Central Caribbean Atlantic waters and the other from southwestern Atlantic waters. The divergence time and sampling locations suggest the speciation process at approximately 16 Mya, which is in full agreement with the middle Miocene orogeny of the Caribbean plate, ending up with the formation of the Lesser Antilles and the adjacent subduction zone, coinciding with a particularly low global sea level, resulting in the practical absence of continental shelves at the area, and therefore an effective geographic barrier for D. plei. Furthermore, this study also provides evidence of previously undocumented sub-population structuring in the Gulf of Mexico.


  • phylogeography, COI, Rhodopsin, Doryteuthis plei, speciation, Caribbean plate