Shortjaw cisco (Coregonus zenithicus) exhibit morphological variability across their geographic range in North America and could comprise more than one distinct morph or taxon. To investigate this, principal components analysis was applied to a data set that consisted of four variables from nine localities. All data were obtained from digital images of the specimens and the excised first gill arch. Confidence ellipses (95%) about the means of bivariate distributions of the principal components revealed that some populations were distinct from the others, but a continuity of overlap clouded understanding of pattern among the variation. Most populations had more and longer gillrakers than shortjaw cisco from George Lake (Manitoba) and Basswood Lake (Ontario) that had fewer and shorter gillrakers. This analysis supports the existence of a short- and few-rakered morph and a long- and many-rakered morph. However, most populations of shortjaw cisco from the Great Lakes across Canada to the Arctic share a similar morphology and likely represent a single, widespread species.
Additional publication details
Diversity in shortjaw cisco (Coregonus zenithicus) in North America