In Rarotonga, Linckia multifora (Lamarck) exists in two forms: a blue gray type that is found on the reef intertidally and a red form that is found subtidally. Both types reproduce asexually by regeneration of autotomized arms, as well as sexually, but the relative potential for sexual reproduction varies greatly between these different sites. In the laboratory, reciprocal crosses of the blue gray intertidal form and the red subtidal form developed as successfully as the controls and were indistinguishable in morphology. In addition, both the blue gray intertidal form and the red subtidal form contain two different classes of haplotypes of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI), which exhibit 12 fixed differences. These results suggest that L. multifora of Rarotonga has a dual origin and that the two different forms seen in the two environments belong to a single interbreeding population and may represent ecophenotypes.


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pp. 371-381
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