Casu, Marco and Cossu, Piero and Lai, Tiziana and Scarpa, Fabio and Sanna, Daria and Dedola, Gian Luca and Curini Galletti, Marco (2012) First evidence of self-fertilization in a marine microturbellarian (Platyhelminthes). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Vol. 428 (1), p. 32-38. ISSN 0022-0981. Article.
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The reproductive strategy of the simultaneous hermaphrodite Pseudomonocelis paupercula (Platyhelminthes: Proseriata)was investigated usingmultiple approaches including breeding experiments, anatomical reconstruction, and parentage analysis of offspring. The 18 allozyme loci tested were monomorphic. Conversely, the ISSR markers showed differences among the populations, and allowed us to ascertain whether the offspring were derived from selfing or cross-breeding. The results suggest that selfing is the most common mode of reproduction in this species, with only 8% of the offspring resulting from cross-reproduction. Age at first reproduction of selfers does not differ from that of paired, potentially cross-breeding, specimens. The presence of sperm in the female ducts of individuals that have been isolated since birth suggests the existence of a connection between the male and female reproductive systems that allows self-fertilization. Habitat is suggested to be the key factor shaping the reproductive strategy of the species. P. paupercula is found in highly fragmented brackish-water microhabitats, and selfing may allow for colonization of new habitats that can start from single, unfertilized specimens.
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