Genetic structure of threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus, in Lake Harutori, Japan, with reference to coexisting anadromous and freshwater forms

  • Higuchi M
  • Goto A
  • Yamazaki F
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Abstract  Both anadromous and freshwater forms of threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) inhabit Lake Harutori on the pacific coast of eastern Hokkaido, Japan. Since the two groups of threespine sticklebacks, Pacific Ocean and Japan Sea groups, which showed high genetic differentiation between them, were sympatrically distributed on the Pacific Ocean coast of Hokkaido Island, the genetic structures of the two forms were examined in Lake Harutori. Allozyme analyses of the two forms showed that most specimens from Lake Harutori belonged to the Pacific Ocean group, with a few fish belonging to the Japan Sea group or representing hybrids between the two groups. Both anadromous and freshwater sticklebacks were detected in the Pacific Ocean group. There were no significant differences in allelic frequencies at 17 presumptive loci between the two forms. Analyses of genetic relationships among 5 populations showed that the freshwater population from Lake Harutori was genetically more closely related to the sympatric anadromous population than to the freshwater population from a neighboring river. These results suggested that anadromous and freshwater sticklebacks in Lake Harutori form a single breeding population, and that the two forms might represent a life-history polymorphism within a single population.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Electrophoresis
  • Genetic differentiation
  • Life-history polymorphism
  • Pacific ocean group
  • Sympatric populations

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  • Masahito Higuchi

  • Akira Goto

  • Fumio Yamazaki

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