Neckteeth formation in two species of the Daphnia curvirostris complex (Crustacea: Cladocera)

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Petr Jan JURAČKA *
Christian LAFORSCH
Adam PETRUSEK
(*) Corresponding Author:
Petr Jan JURAČKA | juracka@natur.cuni.cz

Abstract

Cladocerans of the genus Daphnia show different morphological adaptations against invertebrate predation. Among those, the formation of neckteeth has attracted substantial attention. Morphotypes exhibiting neckteeth better resist predation from larvae of phantom midges Chaoborus (Diptera). These morphological structures are known from several species of the Daphnia longispina and D. pulex complexes; recently they have also been reported in the D. curvirostris complex, within which they are well documented from the Far East species D. sinevi and from Central European D. hrbaceki. Much scarcer are indications of the formation of these structures in the widespread species D. curvirostris. Careful inspection of samples from pools with Chaoborus larvae nevertheless revealed that a small necktooth in the first few instars of D. curvirostris is not uncommon, but probably has been mostly overlooked in the past. Occasionally, even adult D. curvirostris males may carry this feature. We provide documentation, particularly by scanning electron micrographs, of neckteeth in field-collected D. curvirostris, and in juvenile individuals of its sister species D. hrbaceki. In addition, we tested the response of three clones each of D. curvirostris and D. hrbaceki to Chaoborus kairomones in laboratory experiments. Two clones of the former species and all three of the latter responded to this predator cue with neckteeth formation. First-instar juveniles of D. hrbaceki also occasionally carried neckteeth in control treatments without Chaoborus kairomones, but second and third instars did not. We also observed strong interclonal variation in neonate length in the presence of kairomones in this species. We provide a summary table listing all Daphnia species presently known to exhibit neckteeth, and propose that the ability to form these structures may be more widespread among common Daphnia species than previously assumed.

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