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Jack-of-all-trades is parthenogenetic


Maraun, Mark (2022), Jack-of-all-trades is parthenogenetic, Dryad, Dataset,


Sex is more costly than parthenogenesis, evolutionary ecologists therefore wonder why sex is much more frequent than parthenogenesis in the majority of animal lineages. Parthenogens are as common as or even more common than sexuals in some ancient animal lineages such as mites and rotifers. Here, we analysed oribatid mites (Acari: Oribatida) as model group because these mites are an ancient taxon. There is evidence that the reproductive mode is phylogenetically conserved in oribatid mites, which makes them an ideal model to test hypotheses on the relationship between reproductive mode and species’ ecological strategies. We used oribatid mites to test the frozen niche variation hypothesis; we hypothesized that parthenogenetic oribatid mites occupy narrow specialized ecological niches. We used the geographic range of species as proxy for specialization as specialised species typically do have narrower geographic ranges than generalistic species. Parthenogenetic lineages have a higher probability to have broader geographic ranges than sexual species arguing against the frozen niche variation hypothesis. Our results suggest that parthenogenetic oribatid mite species are more generalistic than sexual species supporting the general purpose genotype hypothesis. Our findings indicate that parthenogenetic oribatid mite species possess a widely adapted general-purpose genotype and therefore might be viewed as “Jack-of-all-trades”. The data of this DRYAD file are the electronic Appendix of that paper ("Jack-of-all-trades is parthenogenetic").


Data on the range size of oribatid mites were assembled from Subías (2004, 2022; The size of geographic regions, such as Holarctic, Palaearctic, Subtropical, Neotropical, was taken from Hawkins & Porter (2001; and citations therein), and from internet sources (for details see Appendix, Table 1; this DRYAD file).

We included 983 species of the ca. 11.000 described oribatid mite species of which 742 reproduce sexually and 241 by parthenogenesis (Appendix, Table 2; this DRYAD file). The reproductive mode was taken from the literature (Cianciolo & Norton 2006; Domes et al. 2007; Fischer et al. 2010; Norton et al. 1993; Norton & Palmer 1991; Wehner et al. 2014; Maraun et al. 2019) or inferred from the reproductive mode of closely related species. Species were selected from Subías (2004, 2021) and overlapped in large to the species used in the study of Maraun et al. (2019), which included all major lineages of oribatid mites.

For details see our paper in Ecology and Evolution ("Jack-of-all-trades is parthenogenetic") which will be resubmitted in May 2022

Usage Notes

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