Everyone’s favorite crabs are back in the news! Yeti Crabs! Those deep-sea beasties with hairy claws or chests! A new paper in Proceedings B led by Nicolai Roterman, the only person I know with a Yeti Crab tattoo, reveals the evolutionary past and home of the charismatic crabs. Shamefully, it doesn’t include anything about whether … → Read More: The Origins of Hairy Crabs http://dlvr.it/3Xjq8X
MALE GUPPIES REPRODUCE EVEN AFTER DEATH
Male guppies keep reproducing even after death, new research has revealed. The US study discovered that the sperm of dead males survives inside females for at least 10 months, allowing the males to technically live on inside females, who have much longer lifespans.
Performing experiments in a river in Trinidad, a team of evolutionary biologists has found that male guppies continue to reproduce for at least ten months after they die, living on as stored sperm in females, who have much longer lifespans (two years) than males (three-four months).
Populations that are too small can go extinct because close relatives end up breeding with each other and offspring suffer from inbreeding,” said David Reznick, a professor of biology at the University of California, Riverside and the principal investigator of the research project. “If there are stored sperm, then the real population size is bigger than the number of animals you see. Also, stored sperm can increase genetic variation in other ways.”
Reznick explained that male guppies are brightly colored and very variable in coloration. Females prefer males with rare color patterns. A dead male with a long-lost color pattern can later give birth to a son who can now be preferred by females because he is different from all other males in the population. Because some females live so long, those sons can appear more than two generations after the father’s death.
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Photo: Pierson Hill
HOW THE HAIRY-CHESTED ‘HOFF’ CRAB EVOLVED
Yeti crabs grow their food in their own hair, trapping bacteria and letting it flourish there before “combing” it out and slurping it up. The crabs are found near cold seeps and hydrothermal vents, places where mineral-rich water spews out of the seafloor.
Like many animals that live in these extreme environments,yeti crabs have been thought of as “living fossils,” largely isolated from the rest of world and, therefore, unchanged for eons. But new research shows these animals actually evolved relatively recently, suggesting the deep-sea environments the crabs call home may be more changeable than previously thought and more vulnerable to shifts in the atmosphere and climate, said Oxford University researcher Nicolai Roterman.
Upon helping to discover the crab, Roterman nicknamed it the “Hoff” crab, after the shaggy-chested actor David Hasselhoff. “It was the first name that popped into my head,” Roterman said. “And it stuck…
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Photo: CHESSO consortium, firstnews and NatGeo.