Assessment of morphological variations in wild populations of Nile tilapia from South West Nigeria

O.M. Popoola*, A. Ebiwonjumi

Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria

(Manuscript received 31 October 2020; accepted for publication 20 February 2021)

Abstract. The pattern of morphological variations among Oreochromis niloticus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Cichlidae; Teleostei) from three populations from South West Nigeria (Asejire reservoir, Ureje reservoir and Ogbese River were examined (n=10 speciments from each water body) with a view to investigate the genetic diversity using morphometrics and meristics indices. In general, 77.22% of the total variation in the sampled populations is from first principal component (PC1) and the characters that contributed to this variation are with pre-dorsal length, pre-pectoral length, pre-anal length, dorsal spine length and anal spine length. Canonical variate analysis (CVA) showed that O. niloticus populations from the three water bodies formed a separate cluster from each other and that there was an intersection between the Asejire and Ureje reservoirs samples and the Asejire reservoir with Ogbese River samples. However, the samples from Ureje reservoir and Ogbese River had no intersection. Cluster analysis revealed two major clusters with Ureje reservoir samples belong to one and Ogbese River and Asejire reservoir fall in the other cluster. Principal Components for meristic (PC1 and PC2) accounted for 46.49% and 24.17% revealed that transverse scales and scales surrounding the caudal peduncle, pre-dorsal scales accounted for the variation. The CVA revealed that of all the populations sampled, samples from Ureje reservoir are more diverse that the other two populations. The research disclosed that there is variation in O. niloticus populations from the three water bodies, which could be a result of genetic structure and environmental conditions, being major factors affecting morphological variability among different geographical populations. Further study on genetic differentiation of individuals from different species is necessary to confirm findings of the present study.