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Genetics and Molecular Biology
On-line version ISSN 1678-4685
GOMES, Grazielle et al. Can Lutjanus purpureus (South red snapper) be "legally" considered a red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus)?. Genet. Mol. Biol. [online]. 2008, vol.31, n.1, suppl., pp. 372-376. ISSN 1678-4685. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-47572008000200035.
Red snappers (Lutjanus purpureus in Brazil and Lutjanus campechanus in USA and Gulf of Mexico) are both under clear effect of overfishing. Because of their high morphological similarity it has already been suggested that they could possibly be considered as a single species. To investigate the degree of similarity and the genetic structure of red snapper populations we constructed a common dataset of partial D-loop mtDNA sequences of L. purpureus from Brazil (Amapá, Pará and Maranhão) and L. campechanus from the Atlantic coast of the USA (Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi). Phylogenetic and population genetic analyses surprisingly depicted high similarity between L. campechanus and L. purpureus, compatible with the hypothesis of a single species of red snapper for the Western Atlantic Ocean. These preliminary but very curious findings open an important discussion regarding the legislation involved on the capture of this overexploited fish resources as well as regarding their taxonomy.
Keywords : red snapper; Lutjanus purpureus; Lutjanus campechanus; population genetic structure; mitochondrial D-loop.