Taxonomy and population structure of commercially important Indo-Pacific squids of the Uroteuthis (Photololigo) chinensis species complex
A project undertaken at the NSW Department of Primary Industries and supervised by Dr Karina Hall
Using a combination of mitochondrial DNA and SNP genotyping and quantitative morphometrics, this study determined that northeastern Australian fisheries are targeting four undescribed Uroteuthis squid species: a small tropical offshore species, U. sp 2; a widely distributed inshore ‘broad squid’, U. sp 3; and two geographically restricted offshore ‘slender squids’, U. sp 4 from Townsville north and U. sp 5 from Townsville south. A further two undescribed Uroteuthis species were also identified from northern Australian and Indonesian waters (U. sp 1 and U. sp 6) using mitochondrial DNA. Four of the undescribed species match those identified from earlier allozyme data (Yeatman and Benzie 1993; Yeatman and Benzie 1994) and two species are new to this study (U. sp 5 and U. sp 6)
A consistent signal of genetic stock structuring and morphological variation was detected within the inshore species, U. sp 3, with a distinct northern and southern clade divided somewhere between northern NSW and southern Queensland. Specimens from different estuaries also showed finer-scale polymorphism in the southern clade. In contrast, genetic stock structuring was not evident in either of the two offshore species, U. sp 4 and U. sp 5, which were morphologically indistinguishable and likely to be genuine cryptic species. Future work will designate a type series, and name and describe each of the new species, and reinstate U. etheridgei for U. sp 3. The outcomes of this study will help improve squid species identification for more accurate stock and risk assessments and guide spatial management of these valuable fisheries resources.
Dr Karina Hall, Fisheries Resource Assessment, NSW Department of Primary Industries