Research Article

Interregional cytogenetic comparisons in Halichoeres and Thalassoma wrasses (Labridae) of coastal and insular regions of the southwestern Atlantic.


The distribution patterns of marine biodiversity are complex, resulting from vicariant events and species dispersion, as well as local ecological and adaptive conditions. Furthermore, the wide geographic distribution of some species may be hindered by biogeographical barriers that can interfere in the gene flow. Cytogenetic analyses in marine fishes, especially those involving populations in small remote insular environments, remain scarce. In the Western Atlantic, species of wrasses from the genera Halichoeres and Thalassoma occur in biogeographic arrangements that make it possible to analyze cytogenetic patterns between coastal and widely separated island populations. Species of these genera were punctually analyzed in some Atlantic regions. In this study, we compared several chromosomal features, such as karyotype macrostructure, heterochromatic patterns, patterns of base-specific fluorochromes, Ag-NORs, and 18S and 5S ribosomal sites in Thalassoma noronhanum, Halichoeres poeyi, and Halichoeres radiatus individuals from distinct coastal or insular regions of Atlantic. Notably, all of them are characterized by multiple 18S and 5S rDNA sites with syntenic arrangements in some chromosome pairs. Individuals of T. noronhanum (between the insular regions of Rocas Atoll and Fernando de Noronha Archipelago - FNA) and H. poeyi (coastal areas from Northeastern Brazil) show no detectable differences among their cytogenetic patterns. On the other hand, H. radiatus from FNA and São Pedro and São Paulo Archipelago exhibit differences in the frequency of rDNA sites that could suggest some level of population structuring between these insular regions. Interregional cytogenetic inventories of marine species with wide geographic distribution need to be rapidly expanded. These data will allow a better understanding of the level of chromosomal stability between vast oceanic spaces, which may be less than previously thought.