The northeastern Atlantic spiny spider crab occurs from the British Islands to Senegal, where it is an important fishery resource. From morphological characters this crab has recently been proposed as a distinct species, Maja brachydactyla, although for commercial purposes it is still considered the same species as its Mediterranean congener M. squinado. We have studied variation at two mitochondrial genes in several crab populations from the Atlantic (putatively M. brachydactyla) and Mediterranean (M. squinado and M. crispata) basins, in order to clarify the taxonomic status of this crab in the northeastern Atlantic and Mediterranean regions. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that each of these three taxa forms a distinct and well-defined clade. While the divergence within each taxon was 0% for 16S and 0-0.3% for COI, divergence between taxa was 0.6-2.5% for 16S and 5.3-8.7% for COI; values that are in the range of the differences observed between other crustacean species. These results confirm the genetic distinctiveness of each taxa and support their designation as different species. Therefore, the Atlantic spider crab should be referred as M. brachydactyla, a fact that should be taken into account for conservation and commercial purposes.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.