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Is fertility of hybrids enough to conclude that the two oysters Crassostrea gigas and Crassostrea angulata are the same species?
Huvet, A.; Gérard, A.; Ledu, C.; Phélipot, P.; Heurtebise, S.; Boudry, P. (2002). Is fertility of hybrids enough to conclude that the two oysters Crassostrea gigas and Crassostrea angulata are the same species? Aquat. Living Resour. 15(1): 45-52. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/S0990-7440(01)01148-2
In: Aquatic Living Resources = Ressources vivantes aquatiques. Elsevier: Montrouge. ISSN 0990-7440, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Controlled conditions; Fertility; Hybridization; Larvae; Crassostrea angulata (Lamarck, 1819) [WoRMS]; Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg, 1793) [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Huvet, A.
  • Gérard, A.
  • Ledu, C.
  • Phélipot, P.
  • Heurtebise, S.
  • Boudry, P., correspondent

Abstract
    The distinction of the two cupped oysters Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg, 1793) and Crassostrea angulata (Lamark, 1819) into two species was chiefly due to their differing geographical distributions, C. gigas being present in Asia and C. angulata in Europe. Today it is commonly accepted that C. angulata and C. gigas are a single species according to morphological, genetic and F1 hybridization data. However, the demonstration of the fertility of their hybrids and the absence of any reproductive isolation remained to be investigated. Consequently, we studied the fertility of hybrids and sperm competition by performing three different experiments and producing G1 and G2 hybrid progenies between wild populations of C. angulata and C. gigas. Progenies showed very close developmental yields, at 24 hours after fertilization, according to dam taxa suggesting a strong maternal transmission of oocyte quality, but no reproductive isolation was observed between the two taxa. Significant decreases of developmental yields were noticed in C. angulata females with sperm competition, most probably due to early larval mortality. The fertility of hybrids C. angulata × C. gigas was demonstrated, which is further evidence that they are the same species. To definitively state the precise taxonomic classification of C. angulata and C. gigas, further studies are needed to (i) identify geographical zones where these taxa are in contact and (ii) assess their level of hybridization in these zones.

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