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Hybrids of two closely related tropical sea urchins (Genus Echinometra): evidence against postzygotic isolating mechanisms
Rahman, M.A.; Uehara, T.; Pearse, J.S. (2001). Hybrids of two closely related tropical sea urchins (Genus Echinometra): evidence against postzygotic isolating mechanisms. Biol. Bull. 200: 97-106
In: Biological Bulletin. Marine Biological Laboratory: Lancaster, Pa. etc.. ISSN 0006-3185, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Rahman, M.A.
  • Uehara, T.
  • Pearse, J.S.

Abstract
    A series of cross-fertilization experiments were conducted with two unnamed, sympatric species of sea urchins in the Echinometra mathaei species complex, Echinometra sp. A (Ea) and Echinometra sp. C (Ec). Heterogametic fertilization success was high when eggs of Ec and sperm of Ea were involved, and low with eggs of Ea and sperm of Ec. Hybrids produced from crosses in either direction developed normally to sexually mature adults; Ea 3 Ea were largest in test size, followed by Ec (ova) 3 Ea (sperm), Ea (ova) 3 Ec (sperm), and Ec 3 Ec, respectively. Color patterns of the hybrids were closer to the maternal coloration, whereas other characters such as relative test dimensions and spine lengths, morphology of tubefoot and gonad spicules, and gamete sizes were intermediate. Fertilization rates in F 1 backcrosses were high, minimizing the possibility that hybrid infertility is a postzygotic mechanism of reproductive isolation. On the other hand, intensive surveys failed to find individuals with hybrid characteristics in the field, suggesting that natural hybridization between the two species is rare. Prezygotic isolating mechanisms, such as microhabitat separation and gamete incompatibility, at least between Ea eggs and Ec sperm, most likely maintain the genetic integrity of these two closely related species.

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