The aim of this case study is to show how traditional and molecular methods can be employed to identify the Mugilidae species currently used in Sardinia (Italy) to produce the traditional bottarga for the processing of their ovaries. A total of six specimens of Mugil cephalus (n=3) and Mugil capurrii (n=3) were subjected to external morphology and meristic measurements. Subsequently, tissue samples of white muscle and ovaries from three individuals per species were underwent PCR-sequencing assay of mitochondrial DNA cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI). The external morphology and meristic characters showed a sufficient level of reliability in the identification between the two species. At the same time, the molecular techniques showed the discriminatory power and confirmed the correct species identification in all the sampling units. DNA barcoding may be an effective aid to traditional taxonomy and can facilitate accurate species identification among the Mugilidae.
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