[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A survey of the nine localities from where the threatened Killifish Aphanius fasciatus has been recorded in the Maltese Islands showed that large and thriving populations exist at Salina, at the Simar and Ghadira bird sanctuaries and in reservoirs at Marsa and Ghadira. The Simar and Ghadira populations are introduced and originate from a mixture of animals collected from Salina and Marsa. The provenance of the Marsa population is unknown but it is possibly autochthonous to the Marsa area. The Salina and possibly the Marsa populations seem to be the only remaining natural populations of this species in the Maltese Islands.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A multibiomarkers approach was used in order to estimate and monitor marine pollution. Coris julis (Linneaus, 1758) was chosen as a sentinel organism, and the specimens were collected from three well-known sites along the Ionic coast of Sicily: the protected marine area (P.M.A) "Cyclop's Islands" of Acitrezza (CT), used as a control site, Riposto (CT), and the industrial site of Augusta (SR). Abiotic levels of contaminants were also detected. High levels of biotic and abiotic accumulation were found at the industrial site in which the presence of genotoxic and oxidative damage were also evidenced, measured by Micronuclei, Alkaline and Fpg-modified Comet assays. The protein expression analysis showed metallothioneins (MTs) as good tissue-specific markers of metal accumulation. Their levels were significantly higher in muscle than in liver tissue for all the sampling sites, with a positive correlation among tissue levels and the degree of pollution at the sites. Conversely, heat shock proteins 70 (HSP70) expression was higher in Augusta and Riposto than in the control site, but no significant difference was found between the examined tissues among all sites.
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 09/2012; · 2.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the present study, variation in the morphology of the lower pharyngeal element between two Sicilian populations of the rainbow wrasse Coris julis has been explored by the means of traditional morphometrics for size and geometric morphometrics for shape. Despite close geographical distance and probable high genetic flow between the populations, statistically significant differences have been found both for size and shape. In fact, one population shows a larger lower pharyngeal element that has a larger central tooth. Compared to the other population, this population also has medially enlarged lower pharyngeal jaws with a more pronounced convexity of the medial-posterior margin. The results are discussed in the light of a possible more pronounced durophagy of this population.
Italian Journal of Zoology 09/2011; 78(3):320-327. · 0.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The microstructure of the anterior region of the scales in several species of the genus Aphanius was studied by SEM with the aim of determining whether scale morphology could be used to discriminate between the species of this genus. The characters examined concern the morphology of lepidonts, or “scale‐teeth”, their distribution and mode of implantation on the circuli. These characters were also subjected to UPGMA cluster analysis. Results from phenetic analysis of scale‐teeth characters agree overall with those of previously published morphological and biogeographical studies and in part with molecular analysis of the phylogenetic relationships between species of Aphanius. An affinity between A. danfordii and A. mento (found previously in studies based on osteological observations) was seen. The separation of A. apodus from the other species of the fasciatus group, which had also been noticed from molecular observations, was also observed, as well as the affinity of A. ginaonis with the group of A. dispar+A. sirhani. This study demonstrates that scale morphology can provide useful information on the relationships among species of the genus Aphanius encouraging the use of scale characters, combined with other traits, in phylogenetic analyses.
Italian Journal of Zoology 06/2009; 76(2):173-178. · 0.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The blenny Parablennius sanguinolentus was selected as a useful bioindicator of environmental pollution. Chemical parameters in water and sediments from three different sampling sites along the Sicilian Ionian coast were determined and metal concentrations in fish muscle were measured. DNA fragmentation and oxidation in erythrocytes and hepatocytes was determined by the Comet assay and HSP70 expression levels were evaluated in the liver. The results show an increased level of chromium in sediments and high polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations in water at one site. The bioaccumulation of metals in muscle tissue shows high concentrations of lead in some samples. A high percentage of DNA damage in blood and liver cells, as well as high hepatic levels of HSP70, were found in all the sites. The results demonstrate the usefulness of an integrated chemical and biological approach for the determination of environmental stress.
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 03/2009; 72(4):1278-86. · 2.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RIASSUNTO -Biodiversità della ittiofauna fluviale della Sicilia Orientale -Vengono riportati i risultati delle ricerche condotte fra il 1988 e il 2002 sulla distribuzione della fauna ittica in 85 stazioni di ambienti dulcacquicoli della Sicilia centro-orientale. Sono state individuate tre aree di campionamento: a) settentrionale: bacini fluviali dei Monti Peloritani, b) centrale: bacini dei Monti Nebrodi ed Erei, c) meridionale: bacini fluviali dei Monti Iblei. Sono state rinvenute 15 famiglie e 23 specie di Teleostei. In accordo con la divisione di Banarescu (1991) sette specie appartengono alla divisione primaria, due alla divisione secondaria, due sono vicarianti, tre complementari e sei sporadiche. Per il bacino del fiume Simeto è stato possibile evidenziare un impoverimento della biodiversità, in seguito alla perdita del 40% delle specie, sulla base dell'analisi dei dati rilevati in sei stazioni, monitorate ogni cinque anni, tra il 1977 ed il 2002. Fra le specie indigene siciliane il decHno e la scomparsa di Aphanius fasciatus e Salaria fluviatilis sono stati confermati (Ferrito e Tigano, 1996). I nostri dati indicano un impoverimento e una alterazione della fauna ittica dulcacquicola suggerendo l'urgenza di includere le aree ora prese in esame in un piano di gestione e conservazione ambientale.
Parole chiave: biodiversità, ittiofauna, fluviale, Sicilia, impoverimento, alterazione.
SUMMARY -Ichthyofauna biodiversity of the freshwater environments in Eastern Sicily -In the present work we report the results of various researches on the distribution of freshwater fish fauna, carried out in 85 sampling sites between 1988 and 2002. Three areas were examined: a) Northen area including the river basins of Peloritani mountains, b) Central area including the river basins of Nebrodi mountains and Erei mountains, c) Southern area including the river basins of Iblei mountains. We found 15 families of Teleosts and 23 species. According to the subdivision proposed by Banarescu (1991), seven species belong to the primary division, two to the secondary division, two species are diadromous, two are vicarious, three complementary and six are sporadic. The data obtained from the analysis of six sampling sites monitored between 1977 and 2002 allowed us to show a reduction of ichthyofauna biodiversity in the Simeto river basin where we noticed the depletion of 40% of the species. The decline and disappearance of two indigenous sicilian species, Aphanius fasciatus and Salaria fluviatilis, were confirmed (Ferrito e Tigano, 1996). Our data show the reduction and the alteration of the fish fauna. We suggest the need to include the studied areas in management and conservation plans.
Key words: biodiversity, ichthyofauna, freshwater, Sicily, impoverishment, alteration.
XII Congresso Nazionale Associazione Italiana Ittiologi Acque Dolci, San Michele all'Adige (TN); 06/2008
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aphanius fasciatus is a cyprinodont distributed in the salty coastal water of the central and eastern Mediterranean Sea and occasionally in internal fresh water. In this work, the authors have investigated the genetic structure of eight populations of the killifish A. fasciatus from Sardinia and Sicily. The comparison of the mtDNA control region of 237 individuals revealed a total of 49 haplotypes. Several unique haplotypes were present in each population, and no common haplotype was found among Sicilian and Sardinian populations. Almost all Sardinian populations shared a common haplotype, and indeed the four Sicilian populations examined did not share any as determined by the parsimony network analysis. The analysis of molecular variance showed that the percentage of variation among populations is much higher than within each population of A. fasciatus. The overall FST value is very high (0·78) and supports an extensive genetic structure of the populations. The observed genetic differentiations of A. fasciatus populations were discussed taking into account the palaeogeographic and palaeoclimatic events that interested the Mediterranean area from Miocenic to Pleistocenic age. The results provide new insight into the knowledge of the pattern of genetic structure and of evolutionary processes occurring in this species.
Journal of Fish Biology 03/2008; 72(5):1154 - 1173. · 1.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Due to the natural fragmentation of its habitats, Aphanius fasciatus, a Cyprininodontid living in coastal brackish‐water habitats, is distributed discontinuously with considerable isolation of its populations, and characterized by a high degree of osteological and genetic differentiation among them. The genetic relationships in four different Italian populations were studied using the control region (D‐loop) mitochondrial DNA sequence and the polymorphisms generated by RAPD‐PCR. The results revealed a well‐defined genetic structuring, that was also confirmed by the high Gst and Fst values, and a close relationship between the populations of Ganzirri and Lesina, as well as the isolation of the other two Sicilian populations. Moreover, with respect to the mitochondrial DNA analyses, the total genetic variance was higher among populations, but lower in the case of the RAPD polymorphisms.
Italian Journal of Zoology 12/2007; 74(4):371-379. · 0.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two species of Blennies--Salaria fluviatilis, which lives in freshwaters, and Salaria pavo, which lives in the sea--are considered to be phylogenetically related. Due to the interesting feature of one species having a freshwater and one having a marine habitat, and because of the paucity of studies on the intraspecific and interspecific variability of skeletal characters, in the study reported here, several populations of S. fluviatilis and S. pavo were compared. The intraspecific and interspecific morphology of the cranial characteristics, as well as the branchial epithelium, was studied in relationship to the adaptation of the two species to different environments. Osteological results confirmed the intraspecific variability already found in S. fluviatilis and showed a notable interspecific differentiation between S. pavo and S. fluviatilis. Histological studies indicate that the two species have morphological differences, which are the result of the diversity of the environments in which they live. The results from the two approaches, taken together, are in agreement with the hypothesis of the origin of these two species being from a common marine ancestor.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The amount of osteological variation among 11 Italian killifish Aphanius fasciatus populations was examined by the univariate and multivariate analysis of 40 morphometric and meristic variables of the skull and vertebral column. Populations were sampled in three geographically distinct areas (the Adriatic, Sardinia and Sicily). The statistical analysis confirmed that several populations were well differentiated. In particular, discriminant analysis revealed a strong discriminating power of the morphometric variables. Morphometrics of the vertebrae, bony elements of the pharyngeal jaws, supraoccipital and parasphenoid were the most important in discriminating populations. The dendrogram obtained by UPGMA cluster analysis shows the separation of the south-eastern Sicilian populations, that of the Sardinian populations and that of the central-northern Sicilian plus Adriatic populations, as well as the isolation of the Sicilian population from Pantano Viruca and of the Sardinian populations from Pauli Figu from all the others. The significance of the observed differentiation pattern is discussed.
Journal of Fish Biology 01/2007; 70(1):1 - 20. · 1.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The first set of eight polymorphic microsatellites markers was successfully optimized from a partial genomic library enriched for an AC motif of the killifish Aphanius fasciatus Nardo, 1827 (Teleostei, Cyprinodontidae), a brackish-water fish widely distributed along the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. The developed loci proved to be polymorphic, dis-playing from two to six alleles per locus with expected heterozygosity ranging from 0.277 to 0.752. All loci were under Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium, except Af8 that showed signif-icant heterozygotes deficiency, and there was no evidence of linkage associations between any pair of loci. Markers reported here will be potentially useful in monitoring of genetic population structure in this species.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nine populations of Aphanius
fasciatus Nardo, 1827 from the central Mediterranean were analysed by examining the mitochondrial control region and the morphology of the bony elements of the skull and vertebral column, to study the degree of intraspecific differentiation of A. fasciatus considering the level of isolation of the different populations and the palaeogeographic history of the central Mediterranean area. Both the molecular and morphological analyses differentiate between the populations, even if the topologies of the two trees are different. Molecular and osteological investigations have consistently demonstrated a well-supported differentiation of the south-eastern Sicilian populations both within the same group (Tigano et al. in Ital J Zool 71:1124–1133, 2004a; Tigano et al. in Abstract volume XI European Congress of Ichthyology, Tallin, Estonia, 2004b), and from the populations from western Sicily, Tunisia and the island of Malta. The molecular results show that the nine populations are characterised by haplotypes that are well defined in relation to a probably limited gene flow; while, as regards the morphological data the differentiation found could be explained in terms of the geographic isolation of the various populations, although the influence of environmental factors, which differ greatly between the various sites where the populations live, cannot be ruled out.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chromosome location of major (18S, 5.8S and 28S) and 5S ribosomal RNA genes (rDNAs) was examined in Lebias fasciata collected from different Italian blackish-waters, using silver (Ag)- and chromomycin A3 (CMA3)-staining and/or fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Both 18S and 5S rDNA probes for FISH were obtained with polymerase chain reaction-directed cloning from genomic DNA of the examined species. Nucleolar organizer regions (NORs) containing the major rDNAs showed intraspecific polymorphism in number as detected by Ag-and CMA3-staining and FISH with the 18S rDNA probe. On the other hand, 5S rDNA loci constantly occurred on one chromosome pair and co-localized with a pair of the major rDNA loci as evidenced by two-color FISH using the 5S and 18S rDNA probes. Sequential CMA3- and Ag-NOR staining and FISH revealed apparent inactivation of some NORs. The cloned 5S rDNA was found to contain some TATA-like sequences that might play an important role in the regulation of gene expression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The study of three Sicilian populations of Aphanius fasciatus was carried out by examining the mitochondrial control region and the morphology of the bony elements of the skull and vertebral column. The osteological and molecular data obtained indicate a marked differentiation between the populations examined resulting from their isolation, even if the dendrograms of the two approaches are dissimilar. Molecular investigations show that populations are characterized by haplotypes that are well defined in relation to the limited gene flow; while the osteological investigation may account for appreciable environmental influences on the morphological characters.
Italian Journal of Zoology 01/2004; 71(2):107-113. · 0.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The microstructure of the scale surface was analysed in five species of the genus Lebias, Goldfuss by scanning electron microscopy. The morphology, the disposition and type of attachment of the lepidonts on the crest of the circuli, found at the anterior portion of the scales, allowed us to identify a high affinity between L. dispar and L. sirhani and a pronounced morphological gradient from L. fasciata to L. iberus and L. apoda, with the latter being well differentiated with respect to the others. The results agree with morphological data that are already known for the five species examined.
Journal of Natural History 01/2003; 37(12):1529-1534. · 0.78 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Histochemical and immunohistochemical techniques were used to investigate the effect of stress from heavy metals on the respiratory epithelia of the cyprinodont Lebias fasciata living in confined natural environments with different degrees of pollution (brackish swamps of Faro‐Ganzirri and Lesina). This effect was evaluated on cytokeratins and calcium‐binding proteins, with particular reference to the presence of neuronal nitric oxide synthase in the cells of the diffuse neuroendocrine system (DNS). A morphometric examination was also performed to identify possible cranio‐facial and vertebral anomalies; however, the results were negative for all specimens from the two environments. Regarding the presence of heavy metals, only slight differences were found between the two environments, except for the higher concentration of aluminum in the Lesina swamp. In the gills of individuals from the latter environment, the epithelium presented a morphologically and immunohistochemically modified structure, with a concomitant over‐production of mucus; this acts as a barrier to oxygen diffusion, causing strong hypoxia. Therefore, it is hypothesized that the high number of DNS cells and nerve fibers im‐munopositive to nNOS in the respiratory epithelium of Lebias fasciata specimens from lesina is a local reaction to hypoxia.
Italian Journal of Zoology 01/2002; 69(3):195-203. · 0.89 Impact Factor