, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 219–239 | Cite as

Heterochromatin variation in Cryptobothrus chrysophorus

I. Chromosome differentiation in natural populations
  • Bernard John
  • Max King


The endemic grasshopper Cryptobothrus chrysophorus is widely distributed throughout S.E. Australia and its populations display an extensive and spectacular pattern of autosomal variation. While the standard telocentric complement of three long (L1–3), six medium (M4–9) and two short (S10–11) autosome pairs is present throughout most of its range, two quite distinct chromosome “races” can be defined within this species. Populations in the northern part of its distribution (northern N.S.W. and southern Queensland-northern “race”) are differentiated from the remainder (southern “race”) by fixed blocks of distal heterochromatin on autosomes M4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 and by differences in the character of the megameric M7 chromosome. Additionally, while many populations in both races show a polymorphic system of supernumerary segments on the two smallest autosomes (S10–11), that found in the northern “race” is both more variable and more complex. On the other hand all the populations of the southern “race” we have examined are polymorphic for a series of centric shifts which convert telocentrics into acro- or meta-centrics. These occur more commonly in the megameric M7 and the two smallest autosomes (S10–11) although in one population (Forbes Creek, N.S.W.) at least 12 different shifts involving 8 of the autosomes (L3, M4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and S10) are known. By contrast, in the northern “erace” only the small autosomes (S10–11) show centric shifts. These several floating and fixed variants thus involve all chromosomes of the standard set other than the two largest autosomes (L1–2) and the X-chromosome, which appear to be invariate. Finally, morphologically distinct supernumerary (B) chromosomes, intermediate in size between the standard S10 and the M9 elements, are found in both “races” but are especially common in Tasmania, the most southerly point of the species range. These B-chromosomes are partly heterochromatic and partly euchromatic so that they too add to the considerable heterochromatin variation in this species.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard John
    • 1
  • Max King
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Population Biology, Research School of Biological Sciences, Institute of Advanced StudiesAustralian National UniversityCanberra CityAustralia

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