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J Evol Biol. 2007 Sep;20(5):1962-75.

Speciation in killifish and the role of salt tolerance.

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Department of Animal Biology, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL 61820, USA.


Species pairs whose distributions are tied to environmental conditions provide intriguing candidates for the study of ecological speciation. Here, we examine the role that adaptation to salinity has played in the divergence between two closely related species, Lucania goodei and Lucania parva, whose distributions reflect salinity (L. goodei- fresh water, L. parva- euryhaline). We first tested whether these two species display local adaptation and, subsequently, tested for ecological, genic and behavioural isolation by performing crosses within and between L. goodei and L. parva and raising offspring under various salinities. We found strong evidence for differential adaptation to salinity and also for behavioural isolation where animals preferentially mated with conspecifics over heterospecifics. However, we found no evidence for F1 hybrid inviability. We discuss the general lack of evidence for genic isolation in teleost fish and whether this is a real phenomenon or simply a reflection of experimental design.

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