- 化石 (ISSN:00229202)
- no.57, pp.37-44, 1994-11-30
The inarticulate brachiopod Lingula has been regarded as a typical "living fossil" because of its extreme morphologic conservation signified by its longest geological history among known living animal genera. To make clear the mechanisms of the evolutionary conservatism, an investigation of genetic structures of two Japanese populations of Lingula anatina (Ariake Bay population in Kyushu, southern Japan and Mutsu Bay population in northeastern Japan) has been conducted, along with morphometric investigations of the shells. An electrophoretic survey of enzyme variations demonstrated that both populations of Lingula anatina retained a high level of genetic variability comparable with that of other marine animals. In contrast, the genetic distance between the two populations from localities up to 1500km apart is within the value that characterize conspecific populations. The genetic distances between the Japanese populations and the Queensland populations in Australia studied by Hammond and Poiner (1983) are also within the values usually recorded among the populations of a species. The strategy employed by Lingula to prolong pelagic larval existence may play an important role in maintaining a homogeneous population over this long geographic range. The panmixia among the populations of Lingula anatina sustained by the special dispersal mechanism may be one of the genetic mechanisms that keeps the species stable for a long time.