Linnean Society (linnean + society)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Intraspecific genome size variation and morphological differentiation of Ranunculus parnassifolius (Ranunculaceae), an Alpine,Pyrenean,Cantabrian polyploid group

The aim of this study was to assess genome size variation and multivariate morphometric analyses to ascertain cytotype distribution patterns and the morphological differentiation within the Ranunculus parnassifolius group in the Pyrenees and the Alps. Although divergences in nuclear DNA content among different species within a genus are widely acknowledged, intraspecific variation is still a somewhat controversial issue. Holoploid and monoploid genome sizes (C- and Cx-values) were determined using propidium iodide flow cytometry in 125 plants of R. parnassifolius s.l. distributed across four European countries. Three different DNA ploidy levels were revealed in the study area: diploid (2n , 2x, 57.14%), triploid (2n , 3x, 1.19%), and tetraploid (2n , 4x, 41.67%). The mean population 2C-values ranged from 8.15 pg in diploids to 14.80 pg in tetraploids, representing a ratio of 1 : 1.8. Marked intraspecific/interpopulation differences in nuclear DNA content were found. Diploid populations prevail in the Pyrenees, although tetraploid cytotypes were reported throughout the distribution area. In general, mixed-cytotype populations were not found. The Spearman correlation coefficient did not reveal significant correlations between genome size and altitude, longitude, or latitude. Morphometric analyses and cluster analyses based on genome size variation revealed the presence of three major groups, which exhibited a particular biogeographical pattern. A new cytotype, DNA triploid, was found for the first time. Tetraploid populations showed constant nuclear DNA levels, whereas diploid populations from the Pyrenees, in which introgressive hybridization is suggested as a presumable trigger for genome size variation, did not. Scenarios for the evolution of geographical parthenogenesis in R. parnassifolius s.l. are discussed. Finally, the different levels of effectiveness between plant and animal reference standards are analysed. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 251,271. [source]

Failure to cospeciate: an unsorted tale of millipedes and mites

Mites form symbiotic relationships with many animal taxa, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, mollusks and arthropods. They are often found living on millipedes and it has often been speculated that these two groups of arthropods have, in some cases, undergone coevolution. However, this hypothesis has never been formally tested. Millipedes of the family Xystodesmidae Cook 1895 (Diplopoda: Polydesmida) and their symbiotic mites of the genus Stylochyrus Canestrini & Canestrini 1882 were collected in broadleaf forests of the eastern USA. The DNA from two mitochondrial regions (16S/12S and cox1) was sequenced for all collected millipede and mite specimens. Phylogenetic trees were reconstructed for both millipede and mite taxa using Bayesian inference. Pairwise distance data were used in distance-based coevolutionary analyses and reconstructed phylogenies were used in tree-based coevolutionary analyses. The phylogenetic analyses indicate Stylochyrus and xystodesmid millipede evolutionary history is incongruent. Moreover, the evolutionary relationships among mite individuals and populations have very low support values and indicate little to no geographic structuring. The coevolutionary analyses likewise detected no pattern of coevolution among these millipede and mite lineages. Unlike many arthropod species, Stylochyrus mites appear to be highly vagile. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 272,287. [source]

Morphological divergence of North-European nine-spined sticklebacks (Pungitius pungitius): signatures of parallel evolution

Parallel evolution is characterised by repeated, independent occurrences of similar phenotypes in a given habitat type, in different parts of the species distribution area. We studied body shape and body armour divergence between five marine, four lake, and ten pond populations of nine-spined sticklebacks [Pungitius pungitius (Linnaeus, 1758)] in Fennoscandia. We hypothesized that marine and lake populations (large water bodies, diverse fish fauna) would be similar, whereas sticklebacks in isolated ponds (small water bodies, simple fish fauna) would be divergent. We found that pond fish had deeper bodies, shorter caudal peduncles, and less body armour (viz. shorter/absent pelvic spines, reduced/absent pelvic girdle, and reduced number of lateral plates) than marine fish. Lake fish were intermediate, but more similar to marine than to pond fish. Results of our common garden experiment concurred with these patterns, suggesting a genetic basis for the observed divergence. We also found large variation among populations within habitat types, indicating that environmental variables other than those related to gross habitat characteristics might also influence nine-spined stickleback morphology. Apart from suggesting parallel evolution of morphological characteristics of nine-spined sticklebacks in different habitats, the results also show a number of similarities to the evolution of three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus Linnaeus, 1758) morphology. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 403,416. [source]

Extreme habitats are not refuges: poeciliids suffer from increased aerial predation risk in sulphidic southern Mexican habitats

Extreme environments are often considered a predation refuge for organisms living in them. In southern Mexico several species of poeciliid fishes are undergoing incipient speciation in a variety of extreme (i.e. permanently dark and/or sulphidic) freshwater systems, and previous research has demonstrated reproductive isolation between populations from sulphidic and adjacent benign habitats. In the present study, we investigated bird predation rates (measured as successful captures per minute) in two sulphidic surface and several benign surface habitats, to test the hypothesis that extreme habitats are predation refuges. We found capture rates to be approximately 20 times higher in sulphidic environments: probably facilitated by extremophile poeciliids spending most of their time at the water surface, where they engage in aquatic surface respiration as a direct response to hypoxia. Even birds that are usually not considered major fish predators regularly engage in fish predation in the toxic habitats of southern Mexico. Our results demonstrate that extreme environments do not necessarily represent a refuge from predation, and we discuss the general importance of predation in driving incipient speciation in these systems. Finally, we hypothesize that natural selection via avian predation may play an important role in maintaining reproductive isolation between divergent poeciliid populations. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 417,426. [source]

Asymmetric size and shape variation in the Central European transect across the house mouse hybrid zone

We studied asymmetric variation of the mandible in the Central European portion of the hybrid zone between two house mouse subspecies, Mus musculus musculus and Mus musculus domesticus. Within introgression classes, defined by the share of diagnostic allozymes, we quantified the directional and fluctuating component of asymmetric variation, as well as skewness and kurtosis of individual asymmetry distributions. Furthermore, in the same manner we re-analysed asymmetric variation of the ventral side of the skull. According to the quadratic polynomial model, the mandible shape-fluctuating asymmetry, but not size-fluctuating asymmetry, was significantly decreased in the centre of the hybrid zone (with a minimum predicted for a hybrid index of 0.41). On the contrary, the skull shape-fluctuating asymmetry non-monotonically increased towards the musculus side of the hybrid zone (with a peak predicted for a hybrid index of 0.86). Thus, the impact of hybridization on fluctuating asymmetry is trait-specific in this portion of the house mouse hybrid zone. The only general feature of asymmetric variation we observed was the shift towards the platykurtosis of asymmetry distributions in the centre of the hybrid zone. Taken together, we suggest genetic variability for right,left asymmetries to be generally increased, but the developmental instability of mandible shape to be decreased, by hybridization. We hypothesize the decrease of developmental instability to be caused by overdominant effects on developmental dynamics rather than by increased heterozygosity. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 13,27. [source]

Mandible morphology, dental microwear, and diet of the extinct giant rats Canariomys (Rodentia: Murinae) of the Canary Islands (Spain)

An ecomorphological approach of mandible shape through Fourier analyses combined with a paleodietary analysis of dental microwear patterns is used to reconstruct the diet of the extinct endemic Canariomys bravoi Crusafont, Pairó & Petter, 1964 and Canariomys tamarani López-Martínez & López-Jurado, 1987. These two large rodents, respectively, lived on Tenerife and Gran Canaria, the central islands of the Canarian Archipelago. Mandible shape and dental microwear respectively inform us on the volume of vegetal matter and on the presence of grass in the diet. Both Canariomys, which are of similar size, possess relatively similar mandible outlines and microwear patterns. For each species, a diet based on plant materials except grass is the most likely. Such results chime with the similar environments offered by the islands in which the species lived. On the contrary, molar morphology suggests different feeding habits of the two Canariomys. Thus, this suggests a case of mosaic evolution between teeth and mandibles, as well as the likely sensitivity of mandible shape to a combination of ecological and allometric factors. These new data obtained from the fossil record underline the propensity of island endemic mammals to yield surprising examples of phenotypic evolution. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 28,40. [source]

Constraints on home range behaviour affect nutritional condition in urban house sparrows (Passer domesticus)

In human-dominated landscapes (semi)natural habitats are typically embedded in tracts of unsuitable habitat. Under such conditions, habitat characteristics and grain size of the surrounding landscape may affect how much food, and at what cost, is available for sedentary species with low home-range plasticity. Here we combine behavioural radio-tracking, feather ptilochronology, and landscape analysis to test how nutritional condition varies with home range size in 13 house sparrow [Passer domesticus (Linnaeus, 1758)] populations along an urban gradient. Urban individuals occupied smaller home ranges than conspecifics from rural areas, most distinctly if key cover was highly scattered. In urban plots, patch connectivity, home range sizes, and activity areas were positively correlated, indicating that individual ranging behaviour was related to the spatial distribution of suitable habitat. Urban House sparrows also showed the smallest feather growth bars, which were positively related to home range size at plot level. In contrast, growth bar widths and home range sizes were negatively related in rural populations, whereas in suburban populations, both variables varied independently. We conclude that individuals from progressively more built-up areas show a restricted ability to adjust their daily ranging behaviour to the scattered distribution of critical resources. This may complement other putative causes of the widespread population decline of urban house sparrows. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 41,50. [source]

Spatial genetic analysis of the grass snake, Natrix natrix (Squamata: Colubridae), in an intensively used agricultural landscape

Both the conversion of natural habitats to farmland and efforts at increasing the yield of existing crops contribute to a decline in biodiversity. As a consequence of land conversion, specialised species are restricted to remnants of original habitat patches, which are frequently isolated. This may lead to a genetic differentiation of the subpopulations. We used seven microsatellite markers to examine the genetic population structure of the grass snake, Natrix natrix (Linnaeus, 1758), sampled in remnants of pristine habitat embedded in an intensively used agricultural landscape in north-western Switzerland. The study area, a former wetland, has been drained and gradually converted into an agricultural plain in the last century, reducing the pristine habitat to approximately 1% of the entire area. The grass snake feeds almost entirely on amphibians, and is therefore associated with wetlands. In Central Europe, the species shows severe decline, most probably as a result of wetland drainage and decrease of amphibian populations. We found no genetically distinct grass snake populations in the study area covering 90 km2. This implies that there is an exchange of individuals between small remnants of original habitat. Thus, gene flow may prevent any genetic differentiation of subpopulations distributed over a relatively large area. Our results show that a specialized snake species can persist in an intensively used agricultural landscape, provided that suitable habitat patches are interconnected. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 51,58. [source]

Geographic variation in offspring size of a widespread lizard (Takydromus septentrionalis): importance of maternal investment

Geographic variation in offspring size is widespread, but the proximate causes of this variation have not yet been explicitly determined. We compared egg size and egg contents among five populations of a lizard (Takydromus septentrionalis, Günther, 1864) along a latitudinal gradient, and incubated eggs at two temperatures to determine the influence of maternal investment and incubation temperature on offspring size. The mean values for female size and egg size were both greater in the two northern populations (Chuzhou and Anji) than in the three southern populations (Lishui, Dongtou, and Ningde). The larger eggs were entirely attributable to the body size of females in the Anji population, but their increased size also stemmed from further enlargement of egg size relative to female body size in Chuzhou, the northernmost population sampled in this study. Eggs of the Chuzhou population contained more yolk and less water than those of southern populations. Despite the lower lipid content in the yolk, eggs from the Chuzhou population had higher energy contents than those from the two southern populations, owing to the larger egg size and increased volume of yolk. Hatchling size was not affected by incubation temperature, but differed significantly among populations, with hatchlings being larger in the Chuzhou population than in the other populations. Our data provide an inference that oviparous reptiles from cold climates may produce larger offspring, not only by increasing egg size but also by investing more energy into their eggs. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 59,67. [source]

The evolution of conspicuous facultative mimicry in octopuses: an example of secondary adaptation?

The ,Mimic Octopus'Thaumoctopus mimicus Norman & Hochberg, 2005 exhibits a conspicuous primary defence mechanism (high-contrast colour pattern during ,flatfish swimming') that may involve facultative imperfect mimicry of conspicuous and/or inconspicuous models, both toxic and non-toxic (Soleidae and Bothidae). Here, we examine relationships between behavioural and morphological elements of conspicuous flatfish swimming in extant octopodids (Cephalopoda: Octopodidae), and reconstructed ancestral states, to examine potential influences on the evolution of this rare defence mechanism. We address the order of trait distribution to explore whether conspicuous flatfish swimming may be an exaptation that usurps a previously evolved form of locomotion for a new purpose. Contrary to our predictions, based on the relationships we examined, flatfish swimming appears to have evolved concurrently with extremely long arms, in a clade of sand-dwelling species. The conspicuous body colour pattern displayed by swimming T. mimicus may represent a secondary adaptation potentially allowing for mimicry of a toxic sole, improved disruptive coloration, and/or aposematic coloration. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 68,77. [source]

Bergmanns's size cline in New Zealand marine spray zone spiders (Araneae: Anyphaenidae: Amaurobioides)

Members of the spider genus Amaurobioides are restricted to the spray zone of rocky marine coasts, where they construct and hunt from silk retreats. Collecting for this study shows these spiders to be distributed around the entire New Zealand coast. A Templeton, Crandall, and Sing (TCS) analysis of the ND1 mitochondrial gene places specimens from the North Island and the northern half of the South Island into a group distinct from Amaurobioides maritima O.P.-Cambridge, 1883, which is restricted to the southern half of the South Island. Females of this northern group exhibit latitude- and temperature-related clines in body length, body mass, and residual index of condition, with larger individuals with greater indices of condition being found at cooler, southern sites. This size cline also appeared in a broader geographical analysis that included Amaurobioides piscator Hogg, 1909 from the sub-Antarctic Auckland and Campbell Islands. Thirteen ND1 haplotypes are represented in the northern group. Both independent contrast analyses and standard regressions of the mean body lengths and mean masses of these haplotypes, and the mean latitudes and temperatures of the sites where haplotypes were present, document a Bergmann's size cline, and provide evidence for an underlying genetic component. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 78,92. [source]

Detecting selection on morphological traits in social insect castes: the case of the social wasp Vespula maculifrons

Highly social insects dominate terrestrial ecosystems because society members belong to discrete castes that undertake distinct tasks. The distinct functional roles of members of different castes may lead to divergent selective regimes, which may ultimately lead to morphological specialization and differentiation of the castes. This study used morphological and genetic analyses to identify traits that experienced caste-specific selection in the social wasp Vespula maculifrons (Buysson, 1905). Traits putatively under selection were identified based on their degree of caste dimorphism, levels of variability, strength of correlations with other traits, and patterns of allometric scaling. Analyses of trait characteristics suggested that queen thorax length, thorax width, and possibly mass, have experienced queen-specific selection. Additionally, trait dimorphism and intercaste phenotypic correlation values were negatively correlated, as expected if some morphological traits were subject to selection, leading to alternate phenotypic optima in the two castes. Overall, our analyses demonstrate how techniques used to identify selection between dimorphic groups can be applied to social species with distinct castes. In addition, our analyses suggest the operation of selection may be stronger in reproductive than in non-reproductive castes. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 93,102. [source]

Evolutionary genetics of genital size and lateral asymmetry in the earwig Euborellia plebeja (Dermaptera: Anisolabididae)

Male genitalia show several evolutionary characteristics, including rapid morphological divergence between closely related species and low within-species phenotypic variability. In addition, genital asymmetry is widespread despite the essentially bilaterally symmetric external morphology of insects. Several hypotheses, such as sexual selection and lock-and-key hypotheses, have been proposed to explain these characteristics of genital evolution. Although these hypotheses provide different predictions about the genetic basis of variation in genitalia, detailed quantitative genetic studies have been conducted in only three insect taxa: heteropterans, dung beetles (Scarabaeidae), and drosophilid flies. For an anisolabidid earwig, Euborellia plebeja, characterized by paired elongated intromittent organs, we estimated the heritabilities and genetic correlations of genital laterality, size of genitalia, and body size. No statistically significant additive genetic, dominance, maternal, or common environmental effects were detected for genital laterality (readiness to use either the left or the right intromittent organ). This result lends further support to the general rule that the direction of antisymmetric variations is randomly determined by non-genetic factors. Irrespective of the restricted phenotypic variation in genitalia compared with body size (allometric slope < 1), as observed in previous studies for other insects, these two traits showed a similar level of genetic variation, measured as the narrow sense heritability (h2) and the coefficient of additive genetic variation (CVA). Comparison suggests the causes of interspecific differences in genetic variability/correlation structures were developmental processes (holo- or hemimetabolous) and/or mode of sexual selection. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 103,112. [source]

Multiple cryptic genetic units in Hypothenemus hampei (Coleoptera: Scolytinae): evidence from microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA sequence data

Hypothenemus hampei is the most important insect pest of coffee and has spread to most coffee-growing countries worldwide. There have been very few studies and none have addressed the population genetics of the beetle using microsatellite markers. In the present study, 683 individuals collected from 37 locations in 18 countries worldwide were screened at nine polymorphic microsatellite loci. Sixty-five out the 683 and six additional individuals were analyzed on a 400-bp fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene. Bayesian clustering analysis and phylogenetic approaches were used to infer the genetic structure of H. hampei over the sampling that encompassed almost all its range. Microsatellite markers made it possible to achieve sufficiently significant power for the delineation of five morphocryptic evolutionary units. Supported by 27 new COI haplotypes, an unexpected considerably high level of genetic differentiation and genetic divergence was revealed between five geographically delineated clusters. Both markers and approaches showed that the clusters included specimens from (1) Ethiopia, (2) Kenya and Uganda, (3) Brazil, (4) Central America excluding Jamaica, and (5) all samples from Asia, West Africa, and Jamaica. These findings clearly suggest the existence of a ,species complex in H. hampei'. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 113,129. [source]

How common are dot-like distributions?

Taxonomical oversplitting in western European Agrodiaetus (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) revealed by chromosomal, molecular markers
Approximately 50 taxa of butterflies in Western Europe have been described as new species or elevated to the level of species during the last 40 years. Many, especially those belonging to the genus Agrodiaetus, have unusually localized, ,dot-like' distributional ranges. In the present study, we use a combination of chromosomal and molecular markers to re-evaluate the species status of Agrodiaetus distributed west of the 17th meridian. The results obtained do not support the current designations of Agrodiaetus galloi, Agrodiaetus exuberans, and Agrodiaetus agenjoi as endemic species with highly restricted distribution ranges, but indicate that these taxa are more likely to be local populations of a widely distributed species, Agrodiaetus ripartii. Agrodiaetus violetae is shown to be a polytypic species consisting of at least two subspecies, including Agrodiaetus violetae subbaeticuscomb. nov. and Agrodiaetus violetae violetae. Agrodiaetus violetae is genetically (but not chromosomally) distinct from Agrodiaetus fabressei and has a wider distribution in southern Spain than previously believed. Agrodiaetus humedasae from northern Italy is supported as a highly localized species that is distinct from its nearest relatives. We propose a revision of the species lists for Agrodiaetus taking these new data into account. The results reported in the present study are relevant to animal conservation efforts in Europe because of their implications for IUCN Red List priorities. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 130,154. [source]

Biogeography meets conservation: the genetic structure of the endangered lycaenid butterfly Lycaena helle (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)

Cold-adapted species are thought to have had their largest distribution ranges in central Europe during the glacial periods. Postglacial warming caused severe range shifts of such taxa into higher latitudes and altitudes. We selected the boreomontane butterfly Lycaena helle (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775) as an example to demonstrate the genetic effects of range changes, and to document the recent status of highly fragmented remnant populations. We analysed five polymorphic microsatellite loci in 1059 individuals sampled at 50 different localities scattered over the European distribution area of the species. Genetic differentiation was strong among the mountain ranges of western Europe, but we did not detect similarly distinct genetic groups following a geographical pattern in the more eastern areas. The Fennoscandian populations form a separate genetic group, and provide evidence for a colonization from southern Finland via northern Scandinavia to south-central Sweden. Species distribution modelling suggests a large extension of the spatial distribution during the last glacial maximum, but highlights strong retractions to a few mountain areas under current conditions. These findings, combined with our genetic data, suggest a more or less continuous distribution of L. helle throughout central Europe at the end of the last ice age. As a consequence of postglacial warming, the species retreated northwards to Fennoscandia and escaped increasing temperatures through altitudinal shifts. Therefore, the species is today restricted to population remnants located at the mountain tops of western Europe, genetically isolated from each other, and evolved into genetically unique entities. Rising temperatures and advancing habitat destruction threaten this wealth of biodiversity. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 155,168. [source]

Phylogeography of Parnassius apollo: hints on taxonomy and conservation of a vulnerable glacial butterfly invader

Parnassius apollo (Linnaeus, 1758) is probably the most renowned Eurasian montane butterfly. Its specialized ecology makes it very sensitive to habitat and climate changes, so that it is now experiencing range contraction and local extinction across most of its range. We sequenced 869 bp of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cytochrome oxidase I gene in 78 P. apollo populations (201 individuals) in order to: (1) assess the phylogeographic pattern of the species; (2) shed light on the historical biogeographic processes that shaped the distribution of the species; and (3) identify geographic population units of special value for the conservation of the species' genetic diversity. Our analyses revealed a very strong phylogeographic structure in P. apollo, which displays a number of distinctive mtDNA lineages populating geographically distinct areas. Overall sequence divergence is relatively shallow, and is consistent with a recent (late Pleistocene) colonization of most of the range. We propose that P. apollo is best viewed as an atypical glacial invader in southern and western Europe, the isolated, montane populations of which, threatened by climate warming, retain a large fraction of the species evolutionary heritage. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 169,183. [source]

Influence of different substrates on the evolution of morphology and life-history traits of azooxanthellate solitary corals (Scleractinia: Flabellidae)

Sessile organisms are influenced considerably by their substrate conditions, and their adaptive strategies are key to understanding their morphologic evolution and traits of life history. The family Flabellidae (Cnidaria: Scleractinia) is composed of the representative azooxanthellate solitary corals that live on both soft and hard substrates using various adaptive strategies. We reconstructed the phylogenetic tree and ancestral character states of this family from the mitochondrial 16S and nuclear 28S ribosomal DNA sequences of ten flabellids aiming to infer the evolution of their adaptive strategies. The Javania lineage branched off first and adapted to hard substrates by using a tectura-reinforced base. The extant free-living flabellids, including Flabellum and Truncatoflabellum, invaded soft substrates and acquired the flabellate corallum morphology of their common ancestor, followed by a remarkable radiation with the exploitation of adaptive strategies, such as external soft tissue [e.g. Flabellum (Ulocyathus)], thecal edge spine, and transverse division (e.g. Placotrochus and Truncatoflabellum). Subsequently, the free-living ancestors of two genera (Rhizotrochus and Monomyces) invaded hard substrates independently by exploiting distinct attachment apparatuses such as tube-like and massive rootlets, respectively. In conclusion, flabellids developed various morphology and life-history traits according to the differences in substrate conditions during the course of their evolution. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 184,192. [source]

Biogeology of Wallacea: geotectonic models, areas of endemism, and natural biogeographical units

The concepts of biogeographical regions and areas of endemism are briefly reviewed prior to a discussion of what constitutes a natural biogeographical unit. It is concluded that a natural biogeographical unit comprises a group of endemic species that share a geological history. These natural biogeographical units are termed Wallacean biogeographical units in honour of the biogeographer A.R. Wallace. Models of the geological development of Indonesia and the Philippines are outlined. Areas of endemism within Wallacea are identified by distributional data, and their relationship to each other and to the adjacent continental regions are evaluated using molecular phylogenies from the literature. The boundaries of these areas of endemism are in broad agreement with earlier works, but it is argued that the Tanimbar Islands are biologically part of south Maluku, rather than the Lesser Sundas, and that Timor (plus Savu, Roti, Wetar, Damar, and Babar) and the western Lesser Sundas form areas of endemism in their own right. Wallacean biogeographical units within Wallacea are identified by congruence between areas of endemism and geological history. It is concluded that although Wallacea as a whole is not a natural biogeographical region, neither is it completely artificial as it is formed from a complex of predominantly Australasian exotic fragments linked by geological processes within a complex collision zone. The Philippines are argued to be an integral part of Wallacea, as originally intended. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 193,212. [source]

The Galton,Darwin,Wedgwood Pedigree of H. H. Laughlin

A pedigree of the Galton,Darwin,Wedgwood families that was exhibited as a poster at the Third International Congress of Eugenics in 1932 at the American Museum of Natural History has been located in the archives of Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. This pedigree was prepared by Harry Hamilton Laughlin, Director of the Eugenics Record Office of the Carnegie Institute. The pedigree shows consanguineous marriages within the three families. A special collection of rare Darwin family photographs assembled by Leonard Darwin has also been found in the Truman State University archives. These photographs were exhibited as a poster alongside the pedigree at the 1932 Eugenics Congress. The poster of the Galton,Darwin,Wedgwood pedigree is published here, together with a tabular version providing ready access to the information contained in the pedigree. Also included are the Darwin family photographs and a biographical sketch of Laughlin. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 228,241. [source]

Sex chromosomes and sex determination pathway dynamics in plant and animal models

In this review, we discuss and compare data obtained from animal and plant models, focusing our attention on the mechanisms that affect sex linkage and changes in sex-determining pathways. Patterns in data across taxa suggest that sex bias and the dynamics that occurs within hybrid zones can play an important role in these processes that enable the spread of some otherwise handicapped genotypes. We discuss the data obtained from several main plant model species in the light of the patterns demonstrated in animal models. In several plant models, we discuss possible differences in the age of their sex-determining pathways and the age of their current sex chromosomes. We also address an open question: how can an X/A ratio based sex-determining system evolve from a sex-determining system based on two genes on the Y chromosome that control two separate sex-determining pathways (for the control of gynoecium suppression and anther promotion)? Taking inspiration from the well described mechanisms involved in sex determination dynamics in animals, we suggest a hypothetical stepwise scenario of change of the plant sex-determining system based on two separate sex-determining pathways (for the control of gynoecium suppression and anther promotion) into the other sex-determining systems. We suppose that an intermediate step occurs before shift to X/A based sex determination. At that phase, sex determination in plants is still based on an active Y chromosome, although there exists already a connected control of both sex-determining pathways. We suggest that this connection is enabled by the existence of the genes that control sexual dimorphism in the vegetative state of plant development, and that, in some circumstances, these genes can become sex-determining genes. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 737,752. [source]

Avian eggshell coloration: new perspectives on adaptive explanations

Recent work suggests that the evolution of egg coloration may have been constrained in three important ways that have not yet been critically synthesized in any review. First, on account of birds being able to see in the ultraviolet spectrum, the interaction between the properties of avian vision and the light environment of nests imply different perceptions of egg coloration from those experienced by humans. Second, a new hypothesis to explain blue,green egg coloration interprets it as a sexually selected signal to males of the laying female's genetic quality. Third, evidence from taxa as divergent as sparrowhawks and great tits indicates that protoporphyrin pigments responsible for maculation (spotting patterns) have a structural function in compensating for eggshell thinning, as caused by calcium stress, and, more recently, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane. We consider this to be the most convincing explanation for the primary function of spotting, although an important secondary function might arise through the fact that individual patterns of maculation may allow birds to identify their own eggs, effectively serving as signatures in the face of inter- or intra-specific brood parasitism. These constraints or hypotheses are not mutually exclusive, and should not be taken to imply that one, but not other, agents of selection might apply to any one species. However, the sexually-selected eggshell coloration hypothesis is least plausible for hole-nesting birds because of the poor light quality available, although such species have been the focus of research in this area, and only a single experimental study has shown a link between egg coloration and male provisioning. Furthermore, the observed relationships between female phenotypic quality and egg traits do not necessarily imply that they have signalling functions. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 753,762. [source]

Hatching asynchrony and growth trade-offs within domesticated and wild zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, broods

The Australian zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, is a widely used model organism, yet few studies have compared domesticated and wild birds with the aim of examining its relevance as an evolutionary model species. Domestic and wild broods hatch over approximately 4 and 2 days, respectively, which is important given that nestlings can fledge after as little as 12 days, although 16,18 days is common. We aimed to evaluate the extent to which the greater hatching asynchrony in domestic stock may effect reproductive success through greater variance in size hierarchies, variance in within-brood growth rates, and partial brood mortality. Therefore, by simultaneously controlling brood sizes and experimentally manipulating hatching intervals in both domesticated and wild birds, we investigated the consequences of hatching intervals for fledging success and nestling growth patterns, as well as trade-offs. Fledging success was similarly high in domestic and wild broods of either hatching pattern. Nonetheless, between-brood analyses revealed that domestic nestlings had significantly higher masses, larger skeletal characters, and longer wings than their wild counterparts, although wild nestlings had comparable wing lengths at the pre-fledging stage. Moreover, within-brood analyses revealed only negligible differences between domestic and wild nestlings, and larger effects of hatching order and hatching pattern. Therefore, despite significant differences in the hatching intervals, and the ultimate size achieved by nestlings, the domestication process does not appear to have significantly altered nestling growth trade-offs. The present study provides reassuring evidence that studies involving domesticated zebra finches, or other domesticated model organisms, may provide reasonable adaptive explanations in behavioural and evolutionary ecology. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 763,773. [source]

Genetic and morphological variation in a Mediterranean glacial refugium: evidence from Italian pygmy shrews, Sorex minutus (Mammalia: Soricomorpha)

At the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), the southern European peninsulas were important refugia for temperate species. Current genetic subdivision of species within these peninsulas may reflect past population subdivision at the LGM, as in ,refugia within refugia', and/or at other time periods. In the present study, we assess whether pygmy shrew populations from different regions within Italy are genetically and morphologically distinct. One maternally and two paternally inherited molecular markers (cytochrome b and Y-chromosome introns, respectively) were analysed using several phylogenetic methods. A geometric morphometric analysis was performed on mandibles to evaluate size and shape variability between populations. Mandible shape was also explored with a functional approach that considered the mandible as a first-order lever affecting bite force. We found genetically and morphologically distinct European, Italian, and southern Italian groups. Mandible size increased with decreasing latitude and southern Italian pygmy shrews exhibited mandibles with the strongest bite force. It is not clear whether or not the southern Italian and Italian groups of pygmy shrews occupied different refugia within the Italian peninsula at the LGM. It is likely, however, that geographic isolation earlier than the LGM on islands at the site of present-day Calabria was important in generating the distinctive southern Italian group of pygmy shrews, and also the genetic groups in other small vertebrates that we review here. Calabria is an important hotspot for genetic diversity, and is worthy of conservation attention. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 774,787. [source]

A new cytochrome b phylogroup of the common vole (Microtus arvalis) endemic to the Balkans and its implications for the evolutionary history of the species

The phylogeographic architecture of the common vole, Microtus arvalis, has been well-studied using mitochondrial DNA and used to test hypotheses relating to glacial refugia. The distribution of the five described cytochrome b (cyt b) lineages in Europe west of Russia has been interpreted as a consequence of postglacial expansion from both southern and central European refugia. A recently proposed competing model suggests that the ,cradle' of the M. arvalis lineages is in western central Europe from where they dispersed in different directions after the Last Glacial Maximum. In the present study, we report a new cyt b lineage of the common vole from the Balkans that is not closely related to any other lineage and whose presence might help resolve these issues of glacial refugia. The Balkan phylogroup occurs along the southern distributional border of M. arvalis in central and eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and eastern Serbia. Further north and west in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia, common voles belong to the previously-described Eastern lineage, whereas both lineages are sympatric in one site in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Balkan phylogroup most reasonably occupied a glacial refugium already known for various Balkan endemic species, in contrast to the recently proposed model. South-east Europe is an absolutely crucial area for understanding the postglacial colonization history of small mammals in Europe and the present study adds to the very few previous detailed phylogeographic studies of this region. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 788,796. [source]

Comparative phylogeography of four Apodemus species (Mammalia: Rodentia) in the Asian Far East: evidence of Quaternary climatic changes in their genetic structure

The phylogeography of four Apodemus species (Apodemus agrarius, Apodemus peninsulae, Apodemus latronum, and Apodemus draco) was studied in the Far East of Asia, based on sequences of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b gene. The results obtained show the existence of many different genetic lineages within the studied Apodemus species, suggesting the isolation and differentiation of populations in multiple refuge areas. Higher genetic diversities in some regions such as Yunnan, Sichuan (China), and eastern Russia suggest these areas are potential refuges for these species. The existence of such complex genetic structures could be linked to the presence of many biogeographic barriers (Himalaya Mountains, Tien-shan Mountains, Altai Mountains, Tibetan Plateau, Gobi desert, Yunnan Guizhou Plateau, Dzungaria basin, and others) in these regions, which were probably reinforced during the Quaternary climate changes. These barriers also played an important role concerning the low dispersal abilities of the two studied Apodemus species adapted to forest habitats (A. latronum and A. draco) with respect to colonizing regions other than China. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 797,821. [source]

Isolation and high genetic diversity in dwarf mountain toads (Capensibufo) from South Africa

Traditional models of amphibian dispersal and gene flow point to low dispersal and high philopatry. In recent years, this traditional view has been challenged and it appears that no general model holds across taxa. Conservation of amphibians cannot be addressed on an over-arching scale, but must come on a case-by-case basis, especially for range-restricted species where information on gene flow and migration must be incorporated into conservation efforts. The only two members of the genus Capensibufo Grandison, 1980 (Anura: Bufonidae) are range restricted small bufonids, with distributions limited to montane areas in South Africa. Using a Bayesian analysis of two mitochondrial markers (16S and ND2), we examined the genetic patterns in Capensibufo rosei and Capensibufo tradouwi in order to understand both taxonomic and geographic boundaries. These species were not monophyletic, and demonstrate no clear taxonomic boundaries. Instead, the genus is extremely diverse genetically, with distinct lineages confined to isolated mountains that represent geographic boundaries. In addition, bioclimatic modelling using MAXENT and scenarios of climatic conditions at both the present and last glacial maximum suggest multiple bioclimatic and physical barriers to gene flow at present and in the past. We conclude that members of the genus have very low vagility, that current taxonomic boundaries are inadequate, and that strong geographic structuring has undoubtedly contributed to genetic diversity at the species level, rather than the population level. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 822,834. [source]

Evolutionary significance of fecundity reduction in threespine stickleback infected by the diphyllobothriidean cestode Schistocephalus solidus

Parasites may cause fecundity reduction in their hosts via life-history strategies involving simple nutrient theft or manipulation of host energy allocation. Simple theft of nutrients incidentally reduces host energy allocation to reproduction, whereas manipulation is a parasite-driven diversion of energy away from host reproduction. We aimed to determine whether the diphyllobothriidean cestode parasite Schistocephalus solidus causes loss of fecundity in the threespine stickleback fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus) through simple nutrient theft or the manipulation of host energy allocation. In one stickleback population (Walby Lake, Matanuska-Susitna Valley, Alaska), there was no difference in the sizes and ages of infected and uninfected reproducing females. Lightly- and heavily-infected females produced clutches of eggs, but increasingly smaller percentages of infected females produced clutches as the parasite-to-host biomass ratio (PI) increased. Infected, clutch-bearing sticklebacks showed reductions in clutch size, egg mass, and clutch mass, which were related to increases in PI and reflected a reduction in reproductive parameters as growth in parasite mass occurs. The findings obtained for this population are consistent with the hypothesis of simple nutrient theft; however, populations of S. solidus in other regions may manipulate host energy allocation. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 835,846. [source]

How to become a yucca moth: minimal trait evolution needed to establish the obligate pollination mutualism

The origins of obligate pollination mutualisms, such as the classic yucca,yucca moth association, appear to require extensive trait evolution and specialization. To understand the extent to which traits truly evolved as part of establishing the mutualistic relationship, rather than being pre-adaptations, we used an expanded phylogenetic estimate with improved sampling of deeply-diverged groups to perform the first formal reconstruction of trait evolution in pollinating yucca moths and their nonpollinating relatives. Our analysis demonstrates that key life-history traits of yucca moths, including larval feeding in the floral ovary and the associated specialized cutting ovipositor, as well as colonization of woody monocots in xeric habitats, may have been established before the obligate mutualism with yuccas. Given these pre-existing traits, novel traits in the mutualist moths are limited to the active pollination behaviours and the tentacular appendages that facilitate pollen collection and deposition. These results suggest that a highly specialized obligate mutualism was built on the foundation of pre-existing interactions between early Prodoxidae and their host plants, and arose with minimal trait evolution. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 847,855. [source]

Long-distance signals influence assessment of close range mating displays in the field cricket, Gryllus integer

Male sexual displays often include components detected across long distances, and those perceived only at close range. Understanding what information females gain from each component of a complex display and how they use these signals to make decisions are questions of major interest in sexual selection research. We evaluated content-based hypotheses (,redundant signals' and ,multiple messages') for the courtship displays of field crickets (Gryllus integer) by measuring female responses to males' long-distance calling song (calls) and close-range chemical cues. Females' responses to a male's calls and chemical cues were uncorrelated, supporting the ,multiple messages' hypothesis. We also tested the ,inter-signal interaction' hypothesis by investigating how long-distance calls influence evaluation of close-range courtship. The relationship between long- and close-range signals was complex and conditional: females accepted close-range courtship more quickly after exposure to attractive calling song than they did after exposure to either unattractive calling song or silence, and unattractive calls were no more or less effective than silence. This inter-signal interaction could affect our understanding of mate choice in species with multiple mating signals because it implies that females may save time and energy by not assessing the close-range signals of attractive long-distance signalers. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 856,865. [source]