Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 3, pp 997–1008 | Cite as

Characterization of local populations of the common sole Solea solea (Pisces, Soleidae) in the NW Mediterranean through otolith morphometrics and shape analysis

  • Bastien Mérigot
  • Yves LetourneurEmail author
  • Raymonde Lecomte-Finiger
Research Article


Shape analyses were carried out on otoliths of the common sole, Solea solea (Linnaeus, 1758), in order to discriminate local populations in the North-Western Mediterranean Sea. Samples were collected in various environments like coastal lagoons, the outlet of the Rhone River as well as other marine sites. Morphological analyses highlighted a significant asymmetry between the left and right otoliths. This character could be acquired during or shortly after settlement on soft-bottoms when the individuals really become flatfishes. The otolith shape was described by seven harmonics from elliptic Fourier descriptors and by five indices of shape (coefficient of form, roundness, circularity, rectangularity, and ellipticity). The existence of several local populations of common sole in the NW Mediterranean was demonstrated. In particular, discriminant analyses highlighted significant differences in otolith shape according both to fish size and to the types of environment in which the fish live, i.e. coastal lagoons vs. marine sites, but also between sites belonging to the same type (lagoons, and marine sites). The differences in shape could be linked (1) to the particular environmental conditions of each site, and (2) to changes in metabolic and/or physiological conditions according to the stage of development of the fish which most likely influences the otolith growth.


Fourier Coefficient Coastal Lagoon Shape Index Fish Size Canonical Discriminant Analysis 
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.



Greatest thanks are expressed to J.-P. Durbec for his valuable statistical advices, M. Pichon for improving our English on a first draft, J.-P. Quignard for his precious help with fishermen from the lagoons of Thau and Mauguio, A. Darnaude for collecting most individuals off the Rhone River mouth during her PhD, and the anonymous referees for their constructive suggestions on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bastien Mérigot
    • 1
  • Yves Letourneur
    • 1
    Email author
  • Raymonde Lecomte-Finiger
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre d’Océanologie de MarseilleUniversité de la MéditerranéeMarseille Cedex 09France
  2. 2.Ecole Pratique des Hautes EtudesUniversité de PerpignanPerpignan CedexFrance

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