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Published in: Marine Biology Research, Volume 5, 2009


To investigate pre- and post-zygotic isolation between two sympatric and phylogenetically related species of Lysmata shrimp, two assays were conducted in the laboratory: (1) no specific mate choice where mating between the two species was ‘forced’; (2) specific mate choice or preference where a female had a choice between conspecific and heterospecifc males. Behavioural studies reveal that female L. wurdemanni accepted only conspecific male shrimp, whereas L. boggessi females would mate with an interspecific male if there was no conspecific male present. When males of both species were present, L. boggessi females always mated with the conspecific male. Male L. boggessi in general did not respond to the sex pheromones secreted by female L. wurdemanni and did not display any pre-copulatory behaviour to newly moulted female L. wurdemanni. On the other hand, some male L. wurdemanni responded to female L. boggessi. Although mating was successful between male L. wurdemanni and female L. boggessi, the resulting embryos lived at most for 10 days and failed to hatch. The results indicate that the two species are both pre-zygotically and post-zygotically isolated. Behavioural observation suggests that chemical cues are most likely responsible for pre-zygotic isolation.

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