Naturally occurring hybrids of coral reef butterflyfishes have similar fitness compared to parental species

Montanari, Stefano R., Hobbs, Jean-Paul, Pratchett, Morgan S., Bay, Line K., and van Herwerden, Lynne (2017) Naturally occurring hybrids of coral reef butterflyfishes have similar fitness compared to parental species. PLoS ONE, 12 (3). e0173212.

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Hybridisation can produce evolutionary novelty by increasing fitness and adaptive capacity. Heterosis, or hybrid vigour, has been documented in many plant and animal taxa, and is a notable consequence of hybridisation that has been exploited for decades in agriculture and aquaculture. On the contrary, loss of fitness in naturally occurring hybrid taxa has been observed in many cases. This can have negative consequences for the parental species involved (wasted reproductive effort), and has raised concerns for species conservation. This study evaluates the relative fitness of previously documented butterflyfish hybrids of the genus Chaetodon from the Indo-Pacific suture zone at Christmas Island. Histological examination confirmed the reproductive viability of Chaetodon hybrids. Examination of liver lipid content showed that hybrid body condition was not significantly different from parent species body condition. Lastly, size at age data revealed no difference in growth rates and asymptotic length between hybrids and parent species. Based on the traits measured in this study, naturally occurring hybrids of Chaetodon butterflyfishes have similar fitness to their parental species, and are unlikely to supplant parental species under current environmental conditions at the suture zone. However, given sufficient fitness and ongoing genetic exchange between the respective parental species, hybrids are likely to persist within the suture zone.

Item ID: 50413
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
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Copyright Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 4 of the following PhD thesis: Montanari, Stefano R. (2018) Causes and consequences of natural hybridisation among coral reef butterflyfishes (Chaetodon: Chaetodontidae). PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 08:44
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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