, Volume 546, Issue 1, pp 257–265 | Cite as

Brachionus calyciflorus is a Species Complex: Mating Behavior and Genetic Differentiation Among Four Geographically Isolated Strains

  • John J. Gilbert
  • Elizabeth J. Walsh


Four geographic strains of B. calyciflorus are investigated regarding their genetic similarity and ability to cross-mate. DNA sequence analysis of the mitochondrial cox1 gene (694 bp) and the nuclear ribosomal ITS region (735 bp) showed that the Florida and Georgia strains were very similar to each other (0.3% sequence divergence for the 1429 bp) and different from the Texas and Australia strains (~7% and 9% sequence divergence for the 1429 bp, respectively). Consistent with this genetic relatedness, cross-copulation occurred only between the Florida and Georgia strains. Thus, B. calyciflorus is a complex of cryptic species. While the Florida, Texas and Australia strains were reproductively isolated from one another, most combinations of cross-strain mating tests showed intense and prolonged male circling behavior following male–female encounters. This suggests that precopulatory male circling and copulation are two separate behaviors that may be controlled by different female chemicals and male coronal receptors. In some cross-strain mating tests, females regularly retracted their corona when circled by a male, indicating that they can recognize ‘foreign’ males and actively interfere with copulation.


cryptic species genetic distance mating behavior reproductive isolation rotifers 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • John J. Gilbert
    • 1
  • Elizabeth J. Walsh
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesDartmouth CollegeHanoverU.S.A.
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Texas at El PasoEl PasoU.S.A.

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