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Differential Survival of Sexual and Asexual Poeciliopsis During Environmental Stress

Robert C. Vrijenhoek and Edward Pfeiler
Evolution
Vol. 51, No. 5 (Oct., 1997), pp. 1593-1600
DOI: 10.2307/2411211
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2411211
Page Count: 8
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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.
Differential Survival of Sexual and Asexual Poeciliopsis During Environmental Stress
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Abstract

According to the Frozen Niche-Variation model, coexisting clones of an asexual species can freeze and faithfully replicate ecologically relevant genetic variability that segregates in the sexual ancestors. The present experiments with fish of the genus Poeciliopsis provide further evidence in support of this model. Sexual and clonal forms of Poeciliopsis live in the desert streams of Sonora, Mexico, and are exposed to environmental extremes ranging from flash floods to hot, desiccating, residual pools. We examined coexisting members of the monacha complex to see whether the fish types differed with respect to survival during stress and swimming endurance in an artificial flume. The two coexisting clones of the triploid gynogenetic fish P. 2 monacha-lucida differed dramatically: clone MML/II had the best survival during heat and cold stress and the worst survival during hypoxic stress, whereas clone MML/I had the best survival during hypoxic stress and the worst during heat stress. Poeciliopsis monacha, the sexual species with which these clones coexist, had intermediate survival during heat and hypoxic stress and very poor swimming endurance in the flume. The physiological differences seen in this study are consistent with the Frozen Niche-Variation model and provide some insights into environmental factors that affect the distribution and abundance of these fish.

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