Population density, sexual reproduction and diapause in monogonont rotifers: new data for Brachionus and a review




Diapausing, fertilized eggs in monogonont rotifers typically are formed after an environmental signal induces amictic females to produce mictic daughters. Mictic females lay haploid eggs that may develop parthenogenetically into males, or that may be fertilized and develop into diapausing, female embryos called resting eggs. Laboratory experiments demonstrate that crowding is the signal for production of mictic females in strains of Brachionus calyciflorus from Texas, Spain and Germany, and in a strain of Brachionus variabilis from Spain. In these experiments, newborn amictic females were cultured singly in large and small volumes to give lowand high-density treatments. Therefore, the induction of mictic females is due exclusively to population density and cannot be attributed to a grouping effect involving some interaction among individuals. B. variabilis is very sensitive to population density; females had to be cultured in 30 ml to prevent appreciable production of mictic daughters. Crowding is now known to be the signal for initiation of sexuality and diapause in four species of Brachionus, two species of Epiphanes, and Rhinoglena frontalis. The chemical that mediates this response somehow influences oocytes in the maternal body cavity to differentiate into mictic females. Aggregation of individuals in natural systems may facilitate the production of mictic females. In some of these rotifers, the response to crowding is suppressed in early generations from the resting egg, assuring that clonal populations will attain higher population densities before committing to sexual reproduction. Fitness benefits of the mictic-female response to crowding, and to other environmental signals in other rotifers (dietary tocopherol, long photoperiod), are discussed.



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Brachionus, production of mictic females, resting eggs, life cycle
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GILBERT JJ. Population density, sexual reproduction and diapause in monogonont rotifers: new data for Brachionus and a review. J Limnol [Internet]. 2004 Sep. 1 [cited 2021 Jun. 25];63(s1):32-6. Available from: https://jlimnol.it/index.php/jlimnol/article/view/jlimnol.2004.s1.32