Comparison of morphological and DNA barcoding methods in ichthyoplankton species identification

Alpaslan KARA, Ahsen YÜKSEK


One of the crucial points of ichthyoplankton research is the accurate identification of species. Generally, ichthyoplankton species identifications are made according to the external morphological characteristics of eggs and larvae, however identifying ichthyoplankton using morphology can be quite difficult in many groups. In this study, the accuracy of morphological identification of fish eggs and larvae was investigated using DNA barcoding. The correct identification rates (accuracy) for fish eggs, determined through morphological examination method, when referenced to mtDNA barcoding, were calculated as 80%. Similarly, for fish larvae, the correct identification rate was determined to be 82%. Therefore, identifying the species of fish eggs and larvae causes considerable error using only morphological reference points. Morphological identification has an acceptable success rate but has moderate reliability in detecting some groups, especially in some rare species. Species identification cannot be made with only DNA barcoding method in ichthyoplankton studies. The researcher must have a high level of knowledge of morphology. However, morphological identifications should be supported with DNA barcoding using an integrative approach to minimize the error rate and obtain more accurate results.


Ichthyoplankton, Morphological Identification, mtDNA Barcoding

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