Evolutionary Ecology of Unisexual Fishes

  • William S. Moore
Part of the Monographs in Evolutionary Biology book series (MEBI)


The evolutionary ecology of unisexual fishes is distinguished from that of closely related sexual species by two peculiar aspects of their genetics: First, they reproduce, in effect, asexually, and second, their genomic constitutions are invariably identical to those of F1 hybrids. Thus, a major difficulty in analyzing the evolutionary ecology of these species is to determine the extent to which the distinct phenomena of asexuality and hybridity contribute to their successes and failures. That is, where abundance indicates the success of a particular unisexual fish species, is it successful there because it reproduces asexually or because it possesses a hybrid genotype? The ecological consequences of asexuality, in turn, can be more finely divided. Asexually reproducing organisms do not pay the cost of meiosis (Williams, 1975), and, hence, an asexual species has twice the intrinsic rate of increase r of a comparable sexual species (Maynard Smith, 1978). On the other hand, asexual species lack genetic recombination and cannot generate the multiplicity of genotypes possible in a sexual species. This paucity of genotypic variation may limit the effectiveness of selection and, hence, evolutionary potential or it may reduce the aggregate effectiveness of resource utilization because there cannot be a spectrum of “specialized” genotypes in the population.


Parental Species Evolutionary Ecology Clonal Diversity Sexual Species Rana Esculenta 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • William S. Moore
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA

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