Computational Ecology and Software, 2017, 7(4): 167-178
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Elliptic Fourier Analysis of body shape variation of Hippocampus spp. (seahorse) in Danajon Bank, Philippines

S. R. M. Tabugo-Rico1, L.A. Tumanda1, C.K. Cabrido1, C.M. Apale2, E. Dumalagan2
1Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science and Mathematics, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, Philippines
2Zoological Society of London iSeahorse, Philippines

Received 12 May 2017;Accepted 21 June 2017;Published 1 December 2017

Seahorses inhabit various ecosystems hence, had become a flagship species of the marine environment. The Philippines as a hot spot of biodiversity in Asia holds a number of species of seahorses. This serve as an exploratory study to describe body shape variation of selected common seahorse species: Hippocampus comes, Hippocampus histrix, Hippocampus spinosissimus and Hippocampus kuda from Danajon bank using Elliptic Fourier Analysis. The method was done to test whether significant yet subtle differences in body shape variation can be species-specific, habitat-influenced and provide evidence of sexual dimorphism. It is hypothesized that phenotypic divergence may provide evidence for genetic differentiation or mere adaptations to habitat variation. Results show significant considerable differences in the body shapes of the five populations based on the canonical variate analysis (CVA) and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) with significant p values. Populations were found to be distinct from each other suggesting that body shape variation is species-specific, habitat-influenced and provided evidence for sexual dimorphism. Results of discriminant analysis show further support for species specific traits and sexual dimorphism. This study shows the application of the method of geometric morphometrics specifically elliptic fourier analysis in describing subtle body shape variation of selected Hippocampus species.

Keywords elliptic fourier analysis; Hippocampus;seahorse;Danajon bank.

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