Evolutionary transitions among dioecy, androdioecy and hermaphroditism in limnadiid clam shrimp (Branchiopoda: Spinicaudata)

Authors


S. C. Weeks, Program in Integrated Bioscience, Department of Biology, The University of Akron, Akron, OH 44321, USA.
Tel.: 1 330 972 7156; fax: 1 330 972 8445; e-mail: scw@uakron.edu

Abstract

Examinations of breeding system transitions have primarily concentrated on the transition from hermaphroditism to dioecy, likely because of the preponderance of this transition within flowering plants. Fewer studies have considered the reverse transition: dioecy to hermaphroditism. A fruitful approach to studying this latter transition can be sought by studying clades in which transitions between dioecy and hermaphroditism have occurred multiple times. Freshwater crustaceans in the family Limnadiidae comprise dioecious, hermaphroditic and androdioecious (males + hermaphrodites) species, and thus this family represents an excellent model system for the assessment of the evolutionary transitions between these related breeding systems. Herein we report a phylogenetic assessment of breeding system transitions within the family using a total evidence comparative approach. We find that dioecy is the ancestral breeding system for the Limnadiidae and that a minimum of two independent transitions from dioecy to hermaphroditism occurred within this family, leading to (1) a Holarctic, all-hermaphrodite species, Limnadia lenticularis and (2) mixtures of hermaphrodites and males in the genus Eulimnadia. Both hermaphroditic derivatives are essentially females with only a small amount of energy allocated to male function. Within Eulimnadia, we find several all-hermaphrodite populations/species that have been independently derived at least twice from androdioecious progenitors within this genus. We discuss two adaptive (based on the notion of ‘reproductive assurance’) and one nonadaptive explanations for the derivation of all-hermaphroditism from androdioecy. We propose that L. lenticularis likely represents an all-hermaphrodite species that was derived from an androdioecious ancestor, much like the all-hermaphrodite populations derived from androdioecy currently observed within the Eulimnadia. Finally, we note that the proposed hypotheses for the dioecy to hermaphroditism transition are unable to explain the derivation of a fully functional, outcrossing hermaphroditic species from a dioecious progenitor.

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