, Volume 138, Issue 11–12, pp 1181–1189 | Cite as

Prevalence of B chromosomes in Orthoptera is associated with shape and number of A chromosomes

  • Brian G. Palestis
  • Josefa Cabrero
  • Robert Trivers
  • Juan Pedro M. Camacho


We analyze the prevalence of B chromosomes in 1,601 species of orthopteran insects where chromosome number and shape are known. B chromosomes have been reported in 191 of these species. Bs are not uniformly distributed among orthopteran superfamilies, with evident hotspots in the Pyrgomorphoidea (32.3% of species carrying Bs), Grylloidea (14.9%), Acridoidea (14.6%) and Tetrigoidea (14.3%). As expected under the theory of centromeric drive, we found a correlation between B chromosome presence and A chromosome shape—Bs are more frequent in karyotypes with more acrocentric A chromosomes. We also found that Bs are less common in species with high chromosome numbers and appear to be most common at the modal chromosome number (2n = 24). Study effort, measured for each genus, was not associated with B prevalence, A chromosome shape or A chromosome number. Our results thus provide support for centromeric drive as an important and prevalent force in the karyotypic evolution of Orthoptera, just as it appears to be in mammals. We suggest that centromeric drive may provide a mechanistic explanation for White’s principle of karyotypic orthoselection.


B chromosome Centromeric drive Chromosome number Chromosome shape Insects Orthoptera 



This study was supported by grants from the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología (CGL2009-11917) and Plan Andaluz de Investigación (CVI-1664), and was partially performed by FEDER funds. We thank Austin Burt for advice and the referees for helpful comments on the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian G. Palestis
    • 1
  • Josefa Cabrero
    • 2
  • Robert Trivers
    • 3
  • Juan Pedro M. Camacho
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesWagner CollegeStaten IslandUSA
  2. 2.Departamento de GenéticaUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Anthropology and Biological ScienceRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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