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Date of Award
Honors Thesis - NSU Access Only
Halmos College of Arts and Sciences and the Guy Harvey Oceanographic Research Center
Farquhar Honors College
Honors College Dean
Andrea Nevins, Ph.D.
Home College Dean
Holly Lynn Baumgartner, Ph.D.
J. Matthew Hoch, Ph.D.
The Mangrove Mosquitofish is found in many brackish and freshwater ecosystems surrounding southeast Florida and Cuba. Historical range distribution in Florida has found these fish solely in the Florida Keys and parts of Miami. This research provides an update to the northernmost range that Mangrove Mosquitofish have been observed. As the name implies, Mangrove Mosquitofish reside in areas of critical habitat: Mangrove Forests. These forests are constantly battling habitat loss and reduction due to increased urbanization in native areas. Mangrove Mosquitofish are poecillid fish species with a modified anal fin called a “gonopodium” that allows for internal fertilization. This research found novel hybrids of the Mangrove and Eastern Mosquitofish as well as a new discovery into the mangrove mosquitofish range expansion. Geometric morphometric analysis of hybrid gonopodiums (Eastern Mosquitofish x Mangrove Mosquitofish) reveals an intermediate shape and shows the potential for genetic introgression between species. Hybridization may further threaten Mangrove Mosquitofish populations as they are more vulnerable than the Eastern Mosquitofish due to their use of threatened habitat and range limitation. The morphometric analysis between the two species and hybrids does confirm there is significant difference (p < 0.05) between the two species, and among sites. Boldness behavior trials of both male and female mangrove mosquitofish show slight differences in risk tolerance and exploration between the two sexes. The observations have important implications for the future of Mangrove Mosquitofish in the face of climate change and other anthropogenic habitat alterations.
Rose Leeger. 2023. Comparison of Behavior of Mangrove Mosquitofish Across Their Range and Identification of their Hybridization with Eastern Mosquitofish using Genital Morphology. Capstone. Nova Southeastern University. Retrieved from NSUWorks, Halmos College of Arts and Sciences and the Guy Harvey Oceanographic Research Center. (29)