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The worm has turned: behavioural drivers of reproductive isolation between cryptic lineages

Jones, Gywain, Wills, Alice, Morgan, Andrew John, Thomas, Robert J. ORCID:, Kille, Peter ORCID: and Novo Rodriguez, Marta 2016. The worm has turned: behavioural drivers of reproductive isolation between cryptic lineages. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 98 , pp. 11-17. 10.1016/j.soilbio.2016.03.015

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Behavioural processes such as species recognition and mate attraction signals enforce and reinforce the reproductive isolation required for speciation. The earthworm Lumbricus rubellus in the UK is deeply differentiated into two major genetic lineages, ‘A’ and ‘B’. These are often sympatric at certain sites, but it is not known whether they are to some extent reproductively isolated. Behavioural tests were performed, in which individually genotyped worms were able to choose between soils previously worked either by genetically similar or dissimilar individuals (N = 45). We found that individuals (75%) were significantly (P < 0.05) more likely to orientate towards the soil conditioned by worms of their own lineage. Further testing involved a choice design based on filter papers wetted with water extracts of soils worked by a different genotype on each side (N = 18) or extracts from worked soil vs. un-worked control soil (N = 10). Again, earthworms orientated towards the extract from their kindred genotype (P < 0.05). These findings indicate that genotype-specific water-soluble chemicals are released by L. rubellus; furthermore, they are behaviour-modifying, and play a role in reproductive isolation between sympatric earthworm lineages of cryptic sibling species, through pre-copulatory assortative mate choice.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cryptic speciation; Reproductive isolation; Allopatric speciation; Sympatric speciation; Pre-copulatory; Chemical cues
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0038-0717
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 May 2016
Date of Acceptance: 26 March 2016
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 23:17

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