Authors: KOUAKOU THEODORE KONAN, ABOUO BEATRICE ADEPO-GOURENE, KOFFI MEXMIN KONAN, GERMAIN GOURENE
Abstract: A study on the morphological diversity of the genus Mugil of the lagoons Ebrié and Grand-Lahou was carried out in order to differentiate species of Mugilidae in Côte d'Ivoire. Univariate and multivariate analyses of 40 metric and 11 meristic characters identified 3 homogeneous groups. This phenotypic plasticity within the genus Mugil allowed differentiating the species Mugil curema, M. bananensis, and M. cephalus. Contrary to the overlap presented by the metric parameters, meristic characters, in this case the number of branchiospines on the superior and inferior parts and the number of microbranchiospines on the first branchial arch, were very clearly discriminating for each species. The number of branchiospines on the superior part varies from 27 to 44, from 19 to 39, and from 43 to 58, respectively, for Mugil curema, M. bananensis, and M. cephalus. On the inferior part of that arch, M. curema (57 to 70) and M. bananensis (34 to 45) were separated without overlap. M. bananensis and M. cephalus (62 to 89) were also separated without overlap. Similarly, the number of microbranchiospines on the first arch differs in each of these species. It varies between 103 and 123 for Mugil curema, between 65 and 84 for M. bananensis, and between 123 and 165 for M. cephalus.
Keywords: Mugil, meristic, morphological, branchiospine, microbranchiospine, species, characterization
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