The taxonomic status of hake (Merluccius spp.) in the northeastern Pacific is unclear. Hakes in this region are Merluccius productus, M. angustimanus, M. hernandezi, and a morphotype known as dwarf hake. Of these, only the first two species are currently valid. Descriptions in previous studies have been limited by overlapping morphological characteristic, lack of biological material, and limited numbers of sampling localities. To clarify their taxonomy, 461 hake were obtained from eight localities along the North American coast for morphological and mitochondrial DNA sequence analyses (cytochrome b, cytochrome c oxidase subunit I, and 16S ribosomal rDNA). Morphological and molecular analyses suggest that hake in this region represent a continuum of a single species with some levels of morphological and genetic intra-specific variation. In light of these results, we propose that M. productus is the only species of hake present along the North American and northern Central American coast.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: May 28, 2010
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