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Molecular Phylogenetic Analysis of Life-History Evolution in Asterinid Starfish

Michael W. Hart, Maria Byrne and Michael J. Smith
Evolution
Vol. 51, No. 6 (Dec., 1997), pp. 1848-1861
DOI: 10.2307/2411007
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2411007
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Molecular Phylogenetic Analysis of Life-History Evolution in Asterinid Starfish
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Abstract

We analyzed phylogenetic relationships among 12 nominal species of starfish in the genera Patiriella and Asterina (Order Valvatida, Family Asterinidae), based on complete sequences for a mitochondrial protein coding gene (cytochrome oxidase subunit I) and five mitochondrial transfer RNA genes (alanine, leucine, asparagine, glutamine, and proline) (1923 bp total). The resulting phylogeny was used to test a series of hypotheses about the evolution of life-history traits. (1) A complex, feeding, planktonic larva is probably ancestral for these starfish, but this is not the most parsimonious reconstruction of ancestral larval states. (2) The feeding larval form was lost at least four times among these species, and three of these losses occurred among members of a single clade. (3) Small adult size evolved before both cases of hermaphroditism and viviparous brooding, but viviparity was not always preceded by an intermediate form of external brooding. (4) An ordered transformation series from feeding planktonic development to viviparous brooding has been predicted for starfish, but we could not find an example of this transformation series. (5) Viviparity evolved recently (< 2 Mya). (6) Both species selection and transformation of lineages may have contributed to the accumulation of species with nonfeeding development among these starfish. (7) Neither Asterina nor Patiriella are monophyletic genera. Larval forms and life-history traits of these starfish have evolved freely under no obvious constraints, contrary to the widely assumed evolutionary conservatism of early development.

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