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Title: Incipient speciation in the meadow grasshopper, Chorthippus parallelus (Orthoptera: Acrididae).
Author: Flanagan, Nicola S.
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis examines the evolutionary divergence between northern European and Italian populations of Chorthippus parallelus. Several differing approaches were taken, which identified the inception of various components of the speciation process between these parapatric populations which meet in the Alps. Firstly, partial post-zygotic reproductive isolation was demonstrated using hybrid crosses. The male hybrid offspring of both reciprocal crosses were sterile, displaying severe testicular dysfunction, while the female hybrids showed no deleterious effects of hybridisation. In this grasshopper the males are the heterogametic sex, possessing a single X chromosome, and so this pattern of hybrid sterility conforms to Haldane's rule. Secondly, investigation of the calling song of the male grasshopper, a component of the mate recognition system, suggested the presence of pre-mating reproductive isolation. Males from the different races were found to sing calling song of a significantly different structure. Finally, examination of DNA sequence divergence in a mitochondrial DNA marker demonstrated Significant levels of genetic differentiation between the races. This population divergence and incipient reproductive isolation parallels that found between the north European and Iberian populations of this grasshopper, and provides further evidence that the divergent geographical races have resulted from allopatric divergence while in isolated refugial populations during the glacial periods of the Pleistocene Epoch. These approaches were repeated to investigate genetic divergence between localised populations within the Italian peninsula. No hybrid dysfunction was observed between these populations, suggesting that they are recently derived from one continuous population. This was probably the refugial population of the last ice-age. Additionally, investigation with the mtDNA marker gave preliminary evidence for population expansion from the south to the north of Italy. Interestingly, the male calling song was Significantly different in populations from the north and the south of Italy, suggesting that a component of pre-mating reproductive isolation may have evolved prior to post-mating isolation in allopatric populations of C. parallelus.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Reproduction; Evolutionary divergence Zoology Ecology