MEPS 361:151-159 (2008)  -  doi:10.3354/meps07411

Extreme selfing rates in the cosmopolitan brittle star species complex Amphipholis squamata: data from progeny-array and heterozygote deficiency

E. Boissin*, T. B. Hoareau, J. P. Féral, A. Chenuil

UMR 6540–DIMAR, CNRS / Université de la Méditerranée, Aix-Marseille II, Centre d’Océanologie de Marseille, Station Marine d’Endoume, Chemin de la Batterie des Lions, 13007 Marseille, France

ABSTRACT: Within the brittle star genus Amphipholis, individuals are generally small, gonochoric, broadcast spawners, and species often have restricted distribution areas. In contrast, A. squamata (Ophiuroidea, Echinodermata)—a species complex found worldwide—is hermaphroditic and broods its young. We used 2 complementary methods to estimate the selfing rates of this species in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea. First, we analysed 190 specimens from Les Goudes (France) using 3 co-dominant microsatellites and deduced the selfing rates from heterozygote deficiency, developing an original method to infer confidence intervals. Not a single heterozygote was discovered, leading to estimated selfing rates of 1.0 for all species, with an inferior limit between 0.77 and 0.98. In 7 other European localities, not a single heterozygote was found. Second, we analysed 91 brooders and their 369 offspring using 7 nuclear markers. All progeny had DNA fingerprints identical to those of the parents, confirming that selfing rates are very high. Such high selfing rates, by contributing to colonization success (Baker’s rule), may solve the paradox of cosmopolitism for these ophiuroids that lack a larval phase that would, in theory, ensure dispersal.


KEY WORDS: Self-fertilization · Species complex · Brooding · Homozygous multilocus genotype · Distribution range


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Cite this article as: Boissin E, Hoareau TB, Féral JP, Chenuil A (2008) Extreme selfing rates in the cosmopolitan brittle star species complex Amphipholis squamata: data from progeny-array and heterozygote deficiency. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 361:151-159

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