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Investigations about interespecific reproductive isolation in the Thoropa miliaris group (Amphibia: Anura: Cycloramphidae)

Grant number: 21/12455-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2022
Effective date (End): June 30, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Principal researcher:Célio Fernando Baptista Haddad
Grantee:Ariadne Fares Sabbag
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Sympatric species are excelente models to study forms of interspecific reproductive isolation, as they are a natural system with co-occurring independently evolving linages. The species of anuran amphibians of Thoropa miliaris group (T. megatympanum, T. miliaris, T. saxatilis, T. taophora) inhabit the Atlantic Forest and campo rupestre and present many lineages, apparently without gene flow, but without morphological or acoustic characteristics that might be used to differentiate them. This raises doubts about how these lineages recognize themselves, or how they maintain themselves genetically isolated living in the same habitat. Therefore, we propose an investigation of two other forms of interspecific isolation known in anurans: behavioral isolation and gametic isolation. The behavioral isolation would present itself as a sexual selection through chemical communication, performed by composts from the animals' skin, produced by glands or microbiota. On the other hand, the gametic isolation is a form of post-copula and prezygotic, that present itself in the form of incompatibility between spermatozoa and ovules through morphological characteristics of the spermatozoa. To investigate these two kinds of isolation, we intend to study the morphology and histochemistry of parts of the skin (of males and females), perform sequencings of metranscriptomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomics, and to study the spermatozoa ultrastructure of the four species and all the known lineages. We intend to analyze these results in a descriptive manner, qualitatively and quantitatively, comparing with Thoropa outgroups. We hope that the lineages of species of T. miliaris group present some difference in the glands of skin, in the transcripts, in secondary metabolites or in the gametes that might explain their known genetic differences even when in sympatry. (AU)

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