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New contribution to the systematic status of various Mediterranean scorpionfish, as inferred from a mitochondrial DNA sequence.


This study investigated the molecular phylogeny of 6 Mediterranean species of scorpionfish, belonging to the Scorpaenidae and Sebastidae family. Neighbor-Joining and Maximum Parsimony phylogenetic analyse, based on 424 base pairs of partial mitochondrial DNA sequences of the 12S-rRNA gene, revealed 2 main clades. One clade is represented by the Scorpaena genera (with the species S. notata, S. porcus, and S. scrofa) and another clade consists of the genera Helicolenus, Pterois, and Scorpaenodes. The molecular phylogeny showed that the Scorpaenodes genus (sub-family Scorpaeninae) is found within the clade of the species belonging to the other two sub-families (Pteroninae and Sebastinae). This pattern is in contrast with current classification and it, therefore, poses a number of problems if using only morphological characters when classifying these families.