Evol Ecol Res 4: 181-187 (2002)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Fluorescence in Asellus aquaticus (Isopoda: Asellota): a first approach

Martin Zimmer,* Sabine Geisler, Sylvia Walter and Heinz Brendelberger

Zoologisches Institut – Limnologie, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Olshausenstr. 40, D-24098 Kiel, Germany

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: mzimmer@zoologie.uni-kiel.de


In the freshwater isopod, Asellus aquaticus (Isopoda: Asellota), fluorescing metabolic products, stored in specialized cells, cause intraspecific variation in individual visibility. In many populations, 50–80% of isopods exhibit increased visibility under natural light conditions, which increases predation risk to these individuals. Furthermore, fluorescing isopods exhibit different behaviour with respect to sheltering. These individuals would be expected to be out-competed by their non-fluorescing conspecifics. However, assortative mating of fluorescing versus non-fluorescing isopods warrants reproduction in both phenotypes. We hypothesize possible causes of the isopods’ fluorescing appearance and present results that allow the predicted consequences to individual isopods to be tested.

Keywords: assortative mating, behavioural change, colour change, endoparasites, honest signal, metabolite storage, parasite-induced changes, predation risk.

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