Environmental Control of Sex Differentiation in Daphnia

Part of the Diversity and Commonality in Animals book series (DCA)


The cladoceran crustacean genus Daphnia (daphnids) exhibits a unique reproductive strategy in response to changes in environmental conditions of their habitat. This is known as environmental sex determination (ESD). Under favorable environmental conditions, daphnids produce clonal female offspring by parthenogenesis. Under unfavorable environmental conditions (e.g., short day length, low temperature, food shortage, overpopulation, and/or a combination thereof), daphnids produce male offspring by parthenogenesis and then switch reproductive methods to undergo sexual reproduction. Based on pharmacological and molecular experiments, the juvenile hormone pathway and doublesex1 gene have been identified as responsible factors in the process of ESD and subsequent sexual differentiation in daphnids. Furthermore, morphological observations of the detailed developmental processes that occur during female and male embryogenesis have been made. Despite substantial efforts in studies of the regulatory mechanisms governing sexual differentiation, there remains a large knowledge gap. In this chapter, we provide background information and recent progress in these research fields and present an overview of current knowledge regarding ESD and sexual differentiation in daphnids, mainly focusing on Daphnia pulex and D. magna.


Environmental sex determination (ESD) Daphnia pulex Daphnia magna Juvenile hormone Doublesex1 gene 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenji Toyota
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Norihisa Tatarazako
    • 4
  • Taisen Iguchi
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Okazaki Institute for Integrative Bioscience, National Institute for Basic Biology, National Institutes of Natural SciencesSOKENDAI (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies)OkazakiJapan
  2. 2.Department of Biological Science and TechnologyTokyo University of ScienceKatsushika, TokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Biological Science, Faculty of ScienceKanagawa UniversityHiratsukaJapan
  4. 4.Graduate School of AgricultureEhime UniversityMatsuyamaJapan
  5. 5.Graduate School of NanobioscienceYokohama City UniversityYokohamaJapan

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