Spermatozoa provide an unusual character system, with a limited number of components organized in a single cell. Similar spermatozoa occur in groups widely separated in the phylogenetic tree of Metazoa. Nevertheless, the character system contains phylogenetic information. Hexapoda have acquired spermatophores along with the switch from aquatic to terrestrial habitats, and related to this, a multitude of different sperm types. The aim of this study is a formal evaluation of the phylogenetic information content of spermatozoa. For the first time, sperm characters are coded for formal phylogenetic analyses. Different approaches are used and compared. Mainly due to a high level of homoplasy, the evaluation of sperm characters alone is insufficient for a reconstruction of the phylogeny of the group. Yet, a reliable reconstruction of the evolution of insect sperm is possible when character transformations are assessed using a phylogeny based on extensive molecular data. Important changes took place in the early evolution of Hexapoda. Sperm characters support some major clades (e.g. Hexapoda, Dicondylia, Polyneoptera, Psocodea), but important steps in the evolution are not reflected by transformations of spermatozoa, notably the rise of Pterygota or Holometabola. Important innovations are the formation of mitochondrial derivatives and the acquisition of accessory microtubules. Some features are conservative, whereas others evolved rapidly (e.g. presence or absence of the acrosome vesicle). Some groups are conservative in their sperm features (e.g. Odonata, Heteroptera), whereas the evolution of spermatozoa was distinctly accelerated in others (e.g. Ephemeroptera). The rate of evolution can change drastically in closely related groups. Profound changes in the morphologically uniform Zoraptera underline that sperm evolution can follow a pattern very different from the general somatic morphology. The mode of character reconstruction preferred here will be useful for the evaluation of specialized morphological character systems and strengthen the concept of evolutionary morphology.
|Titolo:||The evolution of insect sperm − an unusual character system in a megadiverse group|
|Citazione:||Gottardo, M., Dallai, R., Mercati, D., Hörnschemeyer, T., & Beutel, R.G. (2016). The evolution of insect sperm − an unusual character system in a megadiverse group. JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGICAL SYSTEMATICS AND EVOLUTIONARY RESEARCH, 54(4), 237-256.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|
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