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Is Hippolyte williamsi gonochoric or hermaphroditic? A multi-approach study and a review of sexual systems in Hippolyte shrimps
Espinoza-Fuenzalida, N.L.; Thiel, M.; Dupré, E.; Baeza, J.A. (2008). Is Hippolyte williamsi gonochoric or hermaphroditic? A multi-approach study and a review of sexual systems in Hippolyte shrimps. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 155(6): 623-635.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162; e-ISSN 1432-1793, more
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  • Espinoza-Fuenzalida, N.L.
  • Thiel, M.
  • Dupré, E.
  • Baeza, J.A.

    Sexual systems vary considerably among caridean shrimps and while most species are gonochoric, others are described as sequential protandric hermaphrodites or simultaneous hermaphrodites with an early male phase. At present, there is confusion about the sexual system exhibited by several species mostly because those studies attempting to reveal their sexual system draw inferences solely from the distribution of the sexes across size classes. Here we investigated the sexual system of the shrimp Hippolyte williamsi from Chile to determine if the species is protandric or gonochoric with sexual dimorphism (males smaller than females). Morphological identification and size frequency distributions indicated that the population comprised small males, small immature females, and large mature females, which was confirmed by dissections. No transitional individuals were found. Males maintained in the laboratory molted 1–8 times, and many grew up to reach sizes observed in only a small fraction of males in the field. No indication of sex change was recorded. Our results indicate that H. williamsi is a sexually dimorphic gonochoric species and emphasizes the importance of using several kinds of evidence (size measurements, growth experiments, morphological dissections, and histological studies) to reveal the sexual system of Hippolyte species. Whether the observed size dimorphism between males and females in many species of Hippolyte is expression of contrasting sexual and natural selection, and whether divergent sexual fitness functions can contribute to the evolution of hermaphroditism remains to be revealed in future studies.

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