Genetic variation in Loligo forbesi in the north-east Atlantic

Andrew Stuart Brierley, JP Thorpe, GJ Pierce, MR Clarke, PR Boyle

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51 Citations (Scopus)


Horizontal starch gel electrophoresis was employed to investigate levels of genetic differentiation between 13 samples of the neritic squid species Loligo forbesi Steenstrup obtained from throughout the majority of its known geographical range. Six enzyme loci identified in a preliminary study as being polymorphic were screened for variation between samples. No significant differences in allele distribution were detected between any of the samples obtained from the Faroe Bank in the north to Lisbon in the south, suggesting that squid throughout this range in the vicinity of the continental shelf are able to maintain panmixia, and effectively belong to a single population sharing a common gene pool. No clinal variation in allele distribution was detected throughout this range, a result which complements the findings of a detailed morphological companion study of the same individuals. Comparison of this homogenous European continental shelf population with squid from the Azores revealed highly significant (P < 0.01) differences in allele distribution at five of the six polymorphic enzyme loci studied. A genetic identity value (I) equivalent to 0.93 over 33 loci was obtained. Analysis of F-statistics suggested migration rates between sites to be as low as one individual per five generations, a rate deemed insufficient under most models to prevent divergence by random genetic drift. The large distance and oceanic depths separating the Azores from continental Europe seem to present an effective barrier to gene now to L. forbesi, a squid belonging to a family considered to be confined in distribution to relatively shallow, near coastal waters. The two populations of squid in the Azores and along the European continental shelf currently both ascribed to L. forbesi should therefore probably best be regarded as relative subspecies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1995


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