Asexual reproduction is rare among vertebrates, and little is known about the factors that promote the evolution of vertebrate asexuality. Asexual mole salamanders of the Ambystoma laterale-jeffersonianum complex must coexist with a related sexually-reproducing population or go extinct. These associations appear as though they should be unstable but are in fact ancient, suggesting forces act to promote stable coexistence of the two reproductive types. This work aims to test the hypothesis that differences in larval growth strategies may promote coexistence. This work will provide insight into the factors that promote the evolution of vertebrate asexuality.
Principal Investigator: Locke Rowe