Vigour-related traits of gibel carp (Carassius gibelio): do they represent reproduction-associated costs facilitating the coexistence of asexual and sexual forms?

with Žádné komentáře

The coexistence of sexual and asexual lineages is rarely documented in vertebrates. Various ecological and evolutionary mechanisms have been proposed to explain their stable coexistence. Gibel carp (Carassius gibelio), a highly invasive freshwater fish in Europe, is one such example of a sexual and asexual vertebrate, combining gynogenesis (sperm-dependent parthenogenesis) and sexual reproduction. In this study, we focused on vigour-related traits in gynogenetic and sexual forms of gibel carp coexisting in the same habitat, to reveal whether there is a link between parasite load and vigour-related traits reflecting the potential advantage of one reproductive form over another, which may eventually facilitate the obligatory coexistence of sperm-dependent gynogenetic females with sexual males. Using physiological parameters (indexes of somatic condition, energetic condition, and reproductive performance; glucose levels; and erythrocytes-related variables), diploid sexual males, diploid sexual females, and triploid gynogenetic females were found to be differentiated from one another. However, based on immune variables representing innate immunity, specific immunity, and index of immunocompetence, mostly sexual males were found to be weakly differentiated from both groups of females. We revealed different patterns of interactions between parasite abundance and immune variables between sexual and gynogenetic forms. Using parasite assemblage composition, different relationships between parasite assemblage and immunity or physiology in sexual males and sexual females were evidenced, potentially related to male reproduction biology. In contrast, gynogenetic females exhibited the advantage that parasite assemblage composition did not affect their immunity or physiology.

Our study suggests that reproduction mode-associated costs of physiology and immunity may facilitate the coexistence of the asexual-sexual complex. We highlight that multiple ecological processes and evolutionary mechanisms contribute to the coexistence of asexual and sexual gibel carp.