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Sperm production in an extremophile fish, the cave molly (Poecilia mexicana, Poeciliidae, Teleostei)


Franssen, C M; Tobler, M; Riesch, R; Garcia de Léon, F J; Tiedemann, R; Schlupp, I; Plath, M (2008). Sperm production in an extremophile fish, the cave molly (Poecilia mexicana, Poeciliidae, Teleostei). Aquatic Ecology, 42(4):685-692.

Abstract

A prominent trade-off in life history theory and evolution balances the costs of reproduction with those of basic somatic needs. Hence, reproductive efforts may be reduced in environments where additional energy is required for somatic maintenance. Here, we investigated male sperm stores in Atlantic mollies (Poecilia mexicana) from a sulfidic cave and several sulfidic and non-sulfidic surface habitats. We found significant differences among populations in the number of sperm stripped per male, which was also correlated with differences in gonad weights. The largest sperm stores were detected in males from non-sulfidic surface creeks, while males from a partially sulfidic surface system had lower sperm counts, and males from completely sulfidic systems, surface as well as subterranean, had even fewer available sperm. We conclude that the extreme environmental conditions in sulfidic habitats appear to constrain male sperm production, since
hydrogen sulfide as a naturally occurring toxin requires energy-demanding adaptations. Furthermore, we examined sperm counts of lab-reared cave and surface mollies in response to energy limitation. Males from stock populations were placed under high and low food treatments for a 2-week period and then stripped of sperm. Sperm counts of surface mollies tended to be reduced by low food availability, whereas sperm counts of cave mollies did not significantly vary between food treatments, which likely points towards a higher starvation resistance in cave mollies.

A prominent trade-off in life history theory and evolution balances the costs of reproduction with those of basic somatic needs. Hence, reproductive efforts may be reduced in environments where additional energy is required for somatic maintenance. Here, we investigated male sperm stores in Atlantic mollies (Poecilia mexicana) from a sulfidic cave and several sulfidic and non-sulfidic surface habitats. We found significant differences among populations in the number of sperm stripped per male, which was also correlated with differences in gonad weights. The largest sperm stores were detected in males from non-sulfidic surface creeks, while males from a partially sulfidic surface system had lower sperm counts, and males from completely sulfidic systems, surface as well as subterranean, had even fewer available sperm. We conclude that the extreme environmental conditions in sulfidic habitats appear to constrain male sperm production, since
hydrogen sulfide as a naturally occurring toxin requires energy-demanding adaptations. Furthermore, we examined sperm counts of lab-reared cave and surface mollies in response to energy limitation. Males from stock populations were placed under high and low food treatments for a 2-week period and then stripped of sperm. Sperm counts of surface mollies tended to be reduced by low food availability, whereas sperm counts of cave mollies did not significantly vary between food treatments, which likely points towards a higher starvation resistance in cave mollies.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Zoology (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Cave fish, Energy limitation, Hydrogen sulfide, Spermatogenesis, Testes weight
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:21 Jan 2009 17:01
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:38
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1386-2588
Publisher DOI:10.1007/s10452-007-9128-9
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-6839

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