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Polymorphism and pore signature patterns in the copepod genus Oncaea (Cyclopoida)

  • S. J. Malt (a1)

Abstract

Species of the cyclopoid copepod genus Oncaea are commonly polymorphic. Using material from several localities, forms of O. venusta Philippi, O. mediterranea Claus and O. conifer a Giesbrecht are described, and specimens of two closely related and morphologically similar species, O. ornata Giesbrecht and O. englishi Heron, are compared. The integumental pore signature patterns of all these species are mapped from stained, tissue-free integuments. Each species has its own characteristic pore signature pattern and sexual dimorphism is confined to the urosomal pore pattern. Similarly the prosomal pore patterns of female copepodid 5 do not usually differ from those of adult females, but urosomal patterns are distinct. Juveniles of O. conifera are exceptional in this respect; their prosomal pore pattern lacks the detail of the adult pattern. Differences in the pore signatures of O. ornata and O. englishi confirm their status as separate species. Signatures in the O. conifera ‘group’ may also prove to be distinct. Whereas intraspecific variation in pore signatures may exist at a level below the resolution of this technique, such small morphological differences should be considered to be taxonomically insignificant.

The implications of polymorphism in the process of speciation, and the mechanisms by which the polymorphic forms are maintained are discussed.

Scanning electron microscopy and light microscopy are used to examine the morphology of pores and their associated sensilla. Three types of sensilla are described, peg, short-hair and long-hair sensilla.

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Polymorphism and pore signature patterns in the copepod genus Oncaea (Cyclopoida)

  • S. J. Malt (a1)

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