For those who delight in eating Mediterranean anchovies, the taste of inshore varieties has long been preferred to that of the open-sea kind. An IRD researcher has shown that this organoleptic difference coincides with a real biological distinction. In the Mediterranean Sea there is not just one species of European anchovy but two, each occupying its own habitat.
Correspondence analysis was performed of all existing genetic data obtained between 1980 and 1996 concerning anchovies from the Mediterranean Basin and the eastern Atlantic, in order to establish the links between genetic variations and geographical distribution of different populations. There are two hypotheses that might explain the existence of two habitat-specific Mediterranean species, one coastal, the other pelagic.
The results highlight the value of using the tools of molecular biology to take a fresh look at anchovy classification, seeing that an ability to distinguish species can have a direct influence on the organization of fishing and trade in these fish, particularly in the Mediterranean.
Marie Guillaume | alfa
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