A Field Test of a Model for the Stability of Androdioecy in the Freshwater Shrimp, Eulimnadia Texana

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Publication Date

Fall 10-2014


The evolution of hermaphroditism from dioecy is a poorly studied transition. Androdioecy (the coexistence of males and hermaphrodites) has been suggested as an intermediate step in this evolutionary transition or could be a stable reproductive mode. Freshwater crustaceans in the genus Eulimnadia have reproduced via androdioecy for 24+ million years and thus are excellent organisms to test models of the stability of androdioecy. Two related models that allow for the stable maintenance of males and hermaphrodites rely on the counterbalancing of three life history parameters. We tested these models in the field over three field seasons and compared the results to previous laboratory estimates of these three parameters. Male and hermaphroditic ratios within years were not well predicted using either the simpler original model or a version of this model updated to account for differences between hermaphroditic types (‘monogenic’ and ‘amphigenic’ hermaphrodites). Using parameter estimates of the previous year to predict the next year's sex ratios revealed a much better fit to the original relative to the updated version of the model. Therefore, counter to expectations, accounting for differences between the two hermaphroditic types did not improve the fit of these models. At the moment, we lack strong evidence that the long-term maintenance of androdioecy in these crustaceans is the result of a balancing of life history parameters; other factors, such as metapopulation dynamics or evolutionary constraints, may better explain the 24+ million year maintenance of androdioecy in clam shrimp.

Publication Title

Journal of Evolutionary Biology





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