First Integrative Morphological and Genetic Characterization of Tremoctopus violaceussensu stricto in the Mediterranean Sea

Tremoctopus violaceus molecular analysis biometric features age mating



An integrative approach based on morphological and genetic analyses was undertaken for the first time to confirm the species identification of Mediterranean samples belonging to the genus Tremoctopus. Sequences of two mtDNA genes (cytochrome c oxidase subunit (COI) and 16S) were generated for the first time from Mediterranean samples. Both the similarity-based identifications and tree-based methods indicated that three females can be identified as Tremoctopus violaceus sensu stricto in agreement with their morphological classifications. All Mediterranean sequences clustered with the sequences of Tremoctopus violaceus from the Gulf of Mexico and were clearly differentiated from the sequences attributed to T. gracilis and T. robsoni. The chromatic pattern of the web and some features of gill filaments, arms formula, stylets, radulae, beaks, and stomach contents were given for all the samples; 105,758, 20,140, and 11,237 oocytes were estimated in the mature, immature, and developing samples, respectively. The presence of four spermatangia inside the cavity of the maturing female suggested the ability of this species to mate before reaching full maturity with more partners. Age investigation using beaks, performed for the first time in T. violaceus and within the genus gave results consistent with the different s and maturity conditions of the samples.