SICB 2016: Variation in Sperm Morphology of Native and Introduced Populations of Three Anolis Species

 

From left to right, Ariel Kahrl, Christian Cox, and Bob Cox.

Ariel Kahrl, Christian Cox, and Bob Cox.

Sperm morphology is highly variable across animals and is a great model for studying the evolution of sexually selected traits.

Ariel Kahrl, a Ph.D. student in Bob Cox’s lab at the University of Virginia, gave a talk on a study which she and coauthor Cox did just that. They sampled sperm from native and introduced populations of Anolis sagrei, A. distichus, and A. cristatellus to look at variation in morphology.

Variation in sperm morphology between native and introduced populations of three Anolis species.

Variation in sperm morphology between native and introduced populations of three Anolis species.

Interestingly, they found that introduced and native populations often varied in sperm morphology (i.e., head, midpiece, and tail lengths). Moreover, these effects were consistent between the three species tested!

Kahrl also pointed out that the variation observed in sperm morphology between males of a single species was often as large as that observed between different species. This study suggests that sperm morphology is highly plastic and/or is capable of rapid evolution in response to environmental change. Further work is needed to elucidate what selective pressures are driving the variation observed between introduced and native populations of these three species.

About David Delaney

David is a Ph.D. student in Fred Janzen's lab at Iowa State University. He is interested in predator/prey relationships and microevolutionary processes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)