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Morphological characterization of the pipefish Microphis lineatus (Kaup, 1856) along the Brazilian Coast (Teleostei, Syngnathiformes, Syngnathidae)

Grant number: 19/10894-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2019
Effective date (End): September 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Morphology of Recent Groups
Principal researcher:George Mendes Taliaferro Mattox
Grantee:Beatriz Martins Corazza
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Humanas e Biológicas (CCHB). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). Sorocaba , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Pipefishes, sea horses and sea dragons belong to the family Syngnathidae, that present the body fully covered by bony rings, a small and terminal mouth, and by the males having a brood pouch. The pipefish species Microphis lineatus (Kaup 1856) occurs in freshwaters, brackish and marine waters along the Atlantic coast from the United States to Brazil. It presents a taxonomic history full of uncertainties, being considered as a full species by some or as a subspecies by other authors, and is currently categorized as Data Deficient (DD) by the IUCN. Nearly forty years ago, Dawson observed a clinal variation for some of the meristic data in the species, with specimens found in Brazil usually having higher counts when compared with specimens from the Caribbean and more Northern regions. However, the author himself mentioned at that time that the number of specimens available for his study was insufficient. After four decades of samplings, nowadays there is a considerable amount of specimens available in ichthyological collections, allowing a detailed morphological approach. This study aims at characterizing morphologically the species M. lineatus along the entire Brazilian coast based on the study of specimens from ichthyological collections and through morphometric and meristic data analyses, in addition to investigating the clinal variations alluded by Dawson. The results will improve our knowledge of the identity of M. lineatus, aiding in its taxonomy as well as yielding more information for ecological purposes.

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