Macrogeographic patterns of breeding system diversity in the Daphnia pulex group from the United States and Mexico

Heredity (Edinb). 2001 Aug;87(Pt 2):153-61. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2540.2001.00885.x.


Studies on the biogeographical patterning of reproductive systems promise to extend understanding of the factors which modulate breeding system transitions. Two closely allied cladoceran crustaceans, Daphnia pulex and D. pulicaria, show varied modes of reproduction, with populations reproducing by either cyclic or obligate parthenogenesis. Prior studies have provided a detailed understanding of their breeding system diversity in the polar and cold temperate regions of North America. The present investigation extends this analysis, characterizing breeding systems and clonal diversity at sites throughout the United States and Mexico. Genotypic diversity in these southern areas was high, but only diploids were detected, indicating that polyploids are restricted to the north. F(1) hybrids and their two parental species were present in most areas, although their frequencies varied geographically. Hybrids invariably reproduced by obligate asexuality, but both parental taxa showed regional shifts in their breeding system. The complexity of these latter patterns suggests that they reflect the interplay of historical factors and selection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breeding
  • Climate
  • Daphnia / classification
  • Daphnia / genetics
  • Daphnia / physiology*
  • Environment
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Mexico
  • Parthenogenesis
  • Polyploidy
  • Reproduction
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal
  • United States