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Growth, mortality, and mating group size of an androdioecious barnacle: implications for the evolution of dwarf males

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Androdioecy is a sexual system characterized by the coexistence of hermaphrodites and males. It has evolved several times independently in ancestrally hermaphroditic barnacles. Life history and sex allocation theory suggest that dwarf males can occur in hermaphroditic populations with very small mating groups, low growth rates and high mortality rates. We tested these predictions in the androdioecious barnacle Chelonibia testudinaria (Linnaeus, 1758), an epibiont on loggerhead sea turtles, blue crabs, and horseshoe crabs. The potential number of mates is indeed very small on invertebrate hosts but larger on sea turtles. Growth rates are host-specific but comparable to those of other purely hermaphroditic barnacle species. The maximum age of hermaphrodites was less than three years, which is lower than in most purely hermaphroditic species. Our data suggest that small mating groups on some hosts and high mortality on all hosts contribute to the evolutionary origin and persistence of dwarf males.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Genetics, University of Georgia, 120 E. Green Street, Athens, GA 30602, USA; 2: 2South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division MRRI, 217 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston, SC 29412, USA; 3: 3Duke University, 135 Duke Marine Lab Road, Beaufort, NC 28516, USA

10.1163/1937240X-00002318
/content/journals/10.1163/1937240x-00002318
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