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Physioecology of Tropical Marine Copepods. II. Sex Ratios

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In-field sex distribution of three copepod populations off the west coast of Barbados, West Indies, was determined at two-weekly intervals over a period of two years. For the small cyclopoid Oncaea mediterranea there was a roughly even distribution between the sexes, but for the two calanoids Temora stylifera and Undinula vulgaris, though the ratios varied considerably, the imbalance was nearly always in favour of the females. It is suggested that sex ratio is a behavioural response induced by a net environmental effect during the early developmental stages, that species of organism living in the complex tropical marine communities retain sex ratio flexibility as a reproductive strategy and hence as an attribute of fitness for survival, and that this flexibility may be of higher adaptive value than a fixed or 1:1 sex ratio.

Affiliations: 1: Biology Department, University of the West Indies, Barbados, West Indies; 2: Bellairs Research Institute of McGill University, St. James, Barbados, West Indies


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