Why do snails have hairs? A Bayesian inference of character evolution.

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Serval ID
serval:BIB_C2A8A9271926
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Title
Why do snails have hairs? A Bayesian inference of character evolution.
Journal
BMC Evolutionary Biology
Author(s)
Pfenninger M., Hrabáková M., Steinke D., Dèpraz A.
ISSN
1471-2148
Publication state
Published
Issued date
2005
Volume
5
Pages
59
Language
english
Notes
Publication types: Journal Article ; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Abstract
BACKGROUND: Costly structures need to represent an adaptive advantage in order to be maintained over evolutionary times. Contrary to many other conspicuous shell ornamentations of gastropods, the haired shells of several Stylommatophoran land snails still lack a convincing adaptive explanation. In the present study, we analysed the correlation between the presence/absence of hairs and habitat conditions in the genus Trochulus in a Bayesian framework of character evolution. RESULTS: Haired shells appeared to be the ancestral character state, a feature most probably lost three times independently. These losses were correlated with a shift from humid to dry habitats, indicating an adaptive function of hairs in moist environments. It had been previously hypothesised that these costly protein structures of the outer shell layer facilitate the locomotion in moist habitats. Our experiments, on the contrary, showed an increased adherence of haired shells to wet surfaces. CONCLUSION: We propose the hypothesis that the possession of hairs facilitates the adherence of the snails to their herbaceous food plants during foraging when humidity levels are high. The absence of hairs in some Trochulus species could thus be explained as a loss of the potential adaptive function linked to habitat shifts.
Keywords
Adaptation, Biological, Animal Structures, Animals, Bayes Theorem, DNA Primers, Data Interpretation, Statistical, Ecosystem, Environment, Evolution, Hair, Humidity, Marine Biology, Markov Chains, Movement, Phylogeny, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Selection (Genetics), Sequence Analysis, DNA, Snails, Species Specificity
Pubmed
Open Access
Yes
Create date
19/11/2007 10:47
Last modification date
20/08/2019 15:37
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