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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / Is there a geographical pattern in the breeding system of a complex of hermaphroditic slugs (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Carinarion)?

K.a Jordaens, S.a Geenen, H.b Reise, P.a Van Riel, R.a Verhagen and T.a Backeljau (2000)

Is there a geographical pattern in the breeding system of a complex of hermaphroditic slugs (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Carinarion)?

Heredity, 85(6):571-579.

Allozyme analyses of the hermaphroditic slugs Arion (Carinarion) fasciatus, A. (C.) circumscriptus and A. (C.) silvaticus have suggested that the three species in North America and north-west Europe predominantly reproduce uniparentally, most probably by selfing. We used allozyme electrophoresis to investigate the population genetic structure of these species throughout a larger part of their native European distribution. Our results show that the previously reported 'species' specific allozyme markers are no longer valid if populations from central Europe are investigated, and A. fasciatus and A. silvaticus appear to be 'paraphyletic' taxa. In contrast to the general belief that selfing organisms show low gene diversities, the high selfing rates in N-NE European Carinarion do not necessarily result in low gene diversities. Moreover, our data suggest a geographical pattern in the prevalence of outcrossing, at least in A. fasciatus, with selfing in N-NE Europe and a mixed breeding system (i.e. selfing and outcrossing) in central Europe. Possible scenarios for the disjunct distribution of breeding systems in Carinarion are discussed.

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