Ophelia, 01 March 2000, Vol.52(1), pp.57-64
Colour morphs of Anemonia aff. silicata, var. rustica, var. vulgaris, var. alinda, var. alabastrina and var. smaragdina (ecotype II) were found in close neighbourhood in a sheltered bay of the Mediterranean island Giglio in the Thyrrhenian Sea. Some of the morphs are known to form colonies of genetically identical individuals by asexual propagation. Thus, the complex population in the studied area was analysed by DNA fingerprinting to reveal or exclude a genetic basis for the phenotypic differences. To this end a modified technique for DNA preparation has been established which ensures survival of the animals and may be well suited for other studies in Actinaria. The morphs var. rustica and var. vulgaris were represented by one clone each consisting of an enormous number of animals. The specimens of the morphs var. alinda and var. alabastrina were also members of these clones as evidenced by their genotypes. They are characterised by a low content of pigments of zooxanthellae and, thus, do not represent real colour morphs. The reddish and green tones of tentacles of var. vulgaris and var. smaragdina seem to be independent from the content of zooxanthellae, which is in contrast to earlier statements. Furthermore, all individuals of var. smaragdina (ecotype II) were genetically different, which points to a lack of asexual reproduction in this morph.
Oceanography ; Ecology
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