05 November 2021

Scholz and colleagues 2021

Zoomorphology journal cover
Scholz S, Göpel T, Richter S, Wirkner CS. 2021. High degree of non-genetic phenotypic variation in the vascular system of crayfish: a discussion of possible causes and implications. Zoomorphology 140: 317-329. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00435-021-00536-2




In this study, the hemolymph vascular system (HVS) in two cambarid crayfishes, i.e. the Marbled Crayfish, Procambarus virginalis Lyko, 2017 and the Spiny Cheek Crayfish, Faxonius limosus (Rafinesque, 1817), is investigated in regard of areas of non-genetic phenotypic variation. Despite their genetic identity, specimens of P. virginalis show variability in certain features of the HVS. Thus, we describe varying branching patterns, sporadic anastomoses, and different symmetry states in the vascular system of the marbled crayfish. We visualize our findings by application of classical and modern morphological methods, e.g. injection of casting resin, micro-computed tomography and scanning electron microscopy. By comparing our findings for P. virginalis to the vasculature in sexually reproducing crayfishes, i.e. F. limosus and Astacus astacus, we discuss phenotypic variation of the HVS in arthropods in general. We conclude that constant features of the HVS are hereditary, whereas varying states identified by study of the clonal P. virginalis must be caused by non-genetic factors and, that congruent variations in sexually reproducing F. limosus and A. astacus are likely also non-genetic phenotypic variations. Both common causal factors for non-genetic phenotypic variation, i.e., phenotypic plasticity and stochastic developmental variation are discussed along our findings regarding the vascular systems. Further aspects, such as the significance of non-genetic phenotypic variation for phylogenetic interpretations are discussed.


Keywords: Evolutionary morphology • phenotypic plasticity • circulatory system • heart • artery

Open access logo.


No comments: