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Reduced Male Allocation in the Parthenogenetic Hermaphrodite Dugesia polychroa

Rolf P. Weinzierl, Kai Berthold, Leo W. Beukeboom and Nicolaas K. Michiels
Evolution
Vol. 52, No. 1 (Feb., 1998), pp. 109-115
DOI: 10.2307/2410925
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410925
Page Count: 7
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Reduced Male Allocation in the Parthenogenetic Hermaphrodite Dugesia polychroa
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Abstract

Parthenogenetic lineages that arise in a hermaphroditic, sexual population will inherit the male function from their sexual progenitors. Natural selection then acts to reduce male allocation of the parthenogens, freeing resources presumably for the female function. Depending on age and the available genetic variation, one therefore expects to find reduced male allocation in naturally occurring parthenogenetic lineages. We investigated the allocation to sperm production in the hermaphroditic flatworm Dugesia polychroa in three lakes containing a sexual (S), a (pseudogamous) parthenogenetic (P), and a mixed sexual-parthenogenetic population (M). Parthenogenetic lineages from M were assumed to be relatively young due to recurrent origins from the coexisting sexuals, whereas those from P were assumed to be older on biogeographical grounds. As predicted, we found drastically reduced sperm production in parthenogens compared to sexuals, even in the parthenogenetic lineages from M, which may be younger. M parthenogens did not have more testes, but produced more sperm than individuals from the purely parthenogenetic population (P). However, the latter result could not be reproduced with laboratory-raised animals and therefore may be a consequence of different ecological conditions in the different lakes, for example, differences in mating rates. To study the behavioral component of male allocation, copulation frequencies were recorded for sexuals from M and for parthenogens from P. Compared to the drastic reduction in sperm production, copulation frequency was less reduced in parthenogens. This may be a consequence of allosperm limitation in pseudogamous parthenogenetic populations.

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