Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 1, pp 167–175 | Cite as

Genetic connectivity among color morphs and Pacific archipelagos for the flame angelfish, Centropyge loriculus

  • Jennifer K. SchultzEmail author
  • Richard L. Pyle
  • Edward DeMartini
  • Brian W. Bowen
Research Article


Color variation is used in taxonomic classification of reef fishes, but it may not reliably indicate evolutionary divergence. In the central Pacific, there are three color morphs of the flame angelfish, Centropyge loriculus: a red morph that occurs primarily in the Hawaiian archipelago, the endemic Marquesan color morph with reduced black markings, and an orange morph that occurs throughout the rest of Oceania. The red and orange morphs co-occur at Johnston Atoll (1,300 km south of Hawai’i), but intermediate forms have not been reported. To determine whether the three color morphs represent distinct evolutionary lineages, we compared 641 base pairs of mitochondrial cytochrome b. Forty-one closely related haplotypes were observed in 116 individuals. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) indicated no significant genetic structure among color morphs (ΦST = 0.011, P = 0.147). Likewise, there was no significant pairwise structure between sampling locations, separated by up to 5,700 km, after a Bonferroni correction (ΦST = 0.000–0.080, P = 0.0130–0.999). Genetic studies in conjunction with larval distribution data indicate that Centropyge species are highly dispersive. While there is a strong geographic component to the distribution of color morphs in C. loriculus, we find no evidence for corresponding genetic partitioning. We do not rule out an adaptive role for color differentiation, but our data do not support emerging species.


Reef Fish Color Pattern Assortative Mating Mismatch Distribution Color Morph 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



For acquisition of samples, we thank T. McGovern, J. Mahon, J. Philibotte, B. Greene, D. R. Robertson, J. Earle, L. Rocha, R. Kosaki, M. Lameier, J. Eble, C. Meyer, M. Ross, Y. Papastamatiou, the National Marine Sanctuary Program and the crew of the NOAA ship Hi’ialakai. We thank M. Crepeau and members of the Toonen-Bowen laboratory for their assistance. Thanks to F. Baensch, M. Lutnesky, J. Randall, D. Smith, K. Hartel, S. Karl, R. Toonen, M. Craig, S. Nishida, and three anonymous reviewers for invaluable advice. Thank you to J. Randall for all photographs. Funding for this work was provided by an NSF grant (OCE-0453167) and the HIMB-NWHI Coral Reef Research Partnership (NMSP MOA 2005-008/66882) awarded to BWB, an EPSCoR grant (EPS-0554657) awarded to the University of Hawaii, and an EPA STAR Fellowship awarded to JKS. All collections and analyses comply with the current laws of the countries in which they were performed. This is HIMB contribution 1238 and contribution 6824 from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaii.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer K. Schultz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard L. Pyle
    • 2
  • Edward DeMartini
    • 3
  • Brian W. Bowen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Hawai’i Institute of Marine BiologyUniversity of Hawai’iKane’oheUSA
  2. 2.Bernice P. Bishop MuseumHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.Pacific Islands Fisheries Science CenterNational Marine Fisheries ServicesHonoluluUSA

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