Gene flow and the mysterious mating system of the Ghost
Shrimp, Callichirus islagrande
Joseph E. Neigel, Ph.D.
University of Louisiana
Wednesday, May 17, 2000
3:00 p.m.—Pacific Forum
Some surprising discoveries have followed the application of genetic
markers to studies of animal mating systems. One is the discovery that
females of most species engage in polyandry (mating with multiple males).
This is surprising because it occurs in species that have been carefully
observed and were believed to be monogamous, and because it is unclear
what the benefit of polyandry is to females or their offspring.
Genetic markers have also allowed us to investigate the mating systems
of animals that are difficult to observe. We have used microsatellite
markers to study the population genetics and mating system of the ghost
shrimp, a common but seldom seen animal that spends its entire adult life
in burrows. Genetic analysis of the eggs brooded by females shows clear
evidence of polyandry. Our analysis also suggests that polyandry may be a
response to the effects of gene flow from other populations.
Next: Fair and foul are next of kin- Self-nonself recognition and the evolution of individuality in colonial marine invertebrates
Last updated: December 19, 2000