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Taxonomic revision and anatomy of Awaous tajasica (Liechtenstein, 1822) (Perciformes: Gobiidae)

Grant number: 15/14323-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2015
Effective date (End): October 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Flávio Alicino Bockmann
Grantee:João Pedro Trevisan dos Santos
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The genus Awaous currently comprises 22 valid species, most of them distributed in the tropical region. Awaous tajasica, of amphidromous habit and originally poorly described, is reported to occur along the west coast of the Atlantic from the state of Florida, United States, to the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Such a widespread distribution may be a result of an incorrect identification of the species or might be an evidence of great capacity for dispersal across the sea. Despite its great potential dispersive capacity, there would be some obstacles that hinder migration of the larvae, for example, the direction and strength of ocean currents. Recent investigations on morphological variation in A. tajasica are incipient, and two nominal species are traditionally considered its junior synonyms. Besides, a preliminary study of the external morphology of geographically distant populations of A. tajasica suggests remarkable differences between them. Taking into account this scenario, the fundamental aim of the present study is to diagnose A. tajasica on the basis of a morphological investigation of specimens from scientific collections, encompassing all geographical variation. As a result, the real distribution range will be established, as well as, when appropriate, it will be described new forms which are wrongly assigned to A. tajasica. In addition, an osteological and myological study of A. tajasica will be done, intending to find features useful for its diagnosis and potentially informative to forthcoming phylogenetic analyses. (AU)