Numerical taxonomy of otoliths from five living species of fish

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1969

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Abstract

The study recognizes three major problems which hamper biostratigraphic utilization of otoliths: insufficient use of measured data, lack of analysis of variance, and the need for a standardized, objective format of otolith description. Sixty-one measured and coded multistate characters are listed which demonstrate the availability of increased measured data and also form a basis for logical, stepwise descriptions. The validity of a numerical approach to otolith studies is demonstrated by the ability of multivariate statistics to reproduce the known categorization of five groups of sagittae (totalling 210 specimens and representing 5 species of living fish). Correlation and regression analysis, factor analysis and stepwise discriminant analysis demonstrate the usefulness of the measurements and their significant relationships in the growth, comparison and classification of otoliths. The analyses indicate that the five study groups should be compared, for classificatory purposes, on the bases of measurements recording the position of the sulcus acousticus margins relative to the otolith periphery; little discriminatory value is attributed to internal measurements of the ostium.

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