Use of shape analysis in the investigation of disputable meristic characters for Ameiurus melas (Rafinesque, 1820) and Ameiurus nebulosus (Lesueur, 1819)
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The aim of this paper was to use geometric morphometry as a helpful tool to clarify the overlap between meristic characters (such as the number of anal fin rays) of different fish identification keys employed for the two sister species, Ameiurus melas and Ameiurus nebulosus. Geometric morphometry included shape analysis of 15 landmarks on 432 specimens. The analyses showed significant differences among groups based on the sampling site, while there was no difference among groups based on the number of anal fin rays (used to distinguish species). This suggests that the use of meristic characters for the determination of these two sister species is rather questionable.