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Data from: Morphometric convergence among European sand gobies in freshwater (Gobiiformes: Gobionellidae)

Cite this dataset

Thacker, Christine E.; Gkenas, Christos (2019). Data from: Morphometric convergence among European sand gobies in freshwater (Gobiiformes: Gobionellidae) [Dataset]. Dryad.


The five genera of sand gobies inhabit the seas and freshwaters of Europe and western Asia and occupy habitats ranging from fully marine to exclusively freshwater. In this study, we use geometric morphometrics to quantify body shape among sand gobies, in order to investigate how shape has evolved and how it is related to habitat. We also compare body shape between preserved museum specimens and fresh specimens, to determine whether or not fixation and storage in ethanol introduces detectable bias. We confirm that the fixed specimens exhibit significant shape changes as compared to fresh specimens, and so we perform the bulk of our analyses exclusively on fixed specimens. We find that Economidichthys, Orsinigobius, and Pomatoschistus occupy distinct regions of morphospace. Knipowitschia and Ninnigobius have intermediate forms that overlap with Pomatoschistus and Orsinigobius, but not Economidichthys. This pattern is also in rough accordance with their habitats: Pomatoschistus is fully marine, Economidichthys fully freshwater, and the others fresh with some brackish tolerance. We augment a recent phylogeny of sand gobies with data for P. quagga, and interpret morphometric shape change on that tree. We then evaluate convergence in form among disparate lineages of freshwater species by constructing a phylomorphospace, and applying pattern-based (convevol) measures of convergence. We find that freshwater taxa occupy a mostly separate region of morphospace from marine taxa, and exhibit significant convergence in form. Freshwater taxa are characterized by relatively larger heads and stockier bodies than their marine relatives, potentially due to a common pattern of heterochronic size reduction.

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