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Prudent female allocation by modular hermaphrodites: female investment is promoted by the opportunity to outcross in cyclostome bryozoans

Jenkins, Helen L., Bishop, John D. D., Hughes, Roger N.
Biological journal of the Linnean Society 2015 v.116 no.3 pp. 593-602
outcrossing, sex allocation, phylogeny, aquatic invertebrates, Bryozoa, progeny, spermatozoa, Angiospermae, reproductive isolation, eggs, females
Many sessile, suspensionā€feeding marine invertebrates mate by spermcasting: aquatic sperm are spawned and gathered by conspecific individuals to fertilize eggs that are generally retained during development. In two phylogenetically distant examples, a cheilostome bryozoan and an aplousobranch ascidian, the receipt of allosperm has previously been shown to alter sex allocation by triggering female investment in eggs and brooding. Here we report experiments demonstrating that two species of cyclostome bryozoan also show restrained female investment in the absence of mating opportunity. In Tubulipora plumosa, the production of female zooids and progeny is much reduced in reproductive isolation. In Filicrisia geniculata, development of distinctive female zooids (gonozooids) begins but halts in the absence of mating opportunity, and no completed gonozooids or progeny result. Reduced female investment in the absence of a mate thus occurs in at least two orders of Bryozoa, but significant differences in detail exist and the evolutionary history within the phylum of the mechanism(s) by which female investment is initiated might be complex. The broadening taxonomic spectrum of examples where female investment appears restrained until allosperm becomes available may signify a general adaptive strategy among outcrossing modular animals, analogous to similarly adaptive sex allocation typical of many flowering plants.