- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Jennions, Michael D.
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- PLOS Biology
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Background: The independent evolution of sympatric species pairs of threespine sticklebacks has provided a natural system to explore how divergent ecologies shape mating preferences. Research has shown that both limnetic and benthic females discriminate against heterospecific males, but not against populations of the same species from different lakes, at least when visual cues are available (Rundle et al., 2000). It is known that olfaction is used in species dis- crimination by benthic but not limnetic sticklebacks in one of the species pairs (Rafferty and Boughman, 2006), but differences across populations are unknown. Hypotheses: Females from benthic habitats make use of olfactory cues to distinguish between species but not lakes of potential mates. Limnetic females will not show preferences for males of different species or lakes when limited to only olfactory cues. Organisms: Benthic and limnetic populations of threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) from Paxton and Priest Lakes, British Columbia. Methods: We exposed gravid females from each population to chemical stimuli from nesting males in a Y-maze, and recorded which stimulus a female chose and how much time was taken to make a decision. Results: We did not find significant differences between female populations in the preference for conspecific over heterospecific male odours. There was also no preference for odours of males from the same or a different lake. In all populations of females, the preference for male odours of different lakes differed between the two species of male odours: benthic male odours from a different lake were selected over limnetic male odours. The amount of time taken to make a decision differed between female populations, but only when benthic females ultimately chose a limnetic male odour over a benthic one. Conclusions: The preference for conspecific over heterospecific odours, although not strong, may still contribute to reproductive isolation in sympatric sticklebacks, particularly through interactions with other senses and environmental properties.more » « less
Allonemobius sociuscomplex of crickets, reproductive isolation is primarily accomplished via postmating prezygotic barriers. We tested seven protein-coding genes expressed in the male ejaculate for patterns of evolution consistent with a putative role as postmating prezygotic isolation genes.Our recently diverged species generally lacked sequence variation. As a result, ω-based tests were only mildly successful. Some of our genes showed evidence of elevated ωvalues on the internal branches of gene trees. In a couple genes these internal branches coincided with both species branching events of the species tree, between A. fasciatusand the other two species, and between A. sociusand A. sp. nov.Tex. In comparison, more successful approaches were those that took advantage of the varying degrees of lineage sorting and allele sharing among our young species. These approaches were particularly powerful within the contact zone. Among the genes we tested we found genes with genealogies that indicated relatively advanced degrees of lineage sorting across both allopatric and contact zone alleles. Within a contact zone between two members of the species complex, only a subset of genes maintained allelic segregation despite evidence of ongoing gene flow in other genes. The overlap in these analyses was arginine kinase(AK) and apolipoprotein A-1 binding protein(APBP). These genes represent two of the first examples of sperm maturation, capacitation, and motility proteins with fixed non-synonymous substitutions between species-specific alleles that may lead to postmating prezygotic isolation. Both genes express ejaculate proteins transferred to females during copulation and were previously identified through comparative proteomics. We discuss the potential function of these genes in the context of the specific postmating prezygotic isolation phenotype among our species, namely conspecific sperm precedence and the superior ability of conspecific males to induce oviposition in females.
Heterospecific mating frequency is critical to hybrid zone dynamics and can directly impact the strength of reproductive barriers and patterns of introgression. The effectiveness of post‐mating prezygotic (
PMPZ) reproductive barriers, which include reduced fecundity via heterospecific matings and conspecific sperm precedence, may depend on the number, identity and order of mates. Studies of PMPZbarriers suggest that they may be important in many systems, but whether these barriers are effective at realistic heterospecific mating frequencies has not been tested. Here, we evaluate the strength of cryptic reproductive isolation in two leaf beetles ( Chrysochus auratusand C. cobaltinus) in the context of a range of heterospecific mating frequencies observed in natural populations. We found both species benefited from multiple matings, but the benefits were greater in C. cobaltinusand extended to heterospecific matings. We found that PMPZbarriers greatly limited hybrid production by C. auratusfemales with moderate heterospecific mating frequencies, but that their effectiveness diminished at higher heterospecific mating frequencies. In contrast, there was no evidence for PMPZbarriers in C. cobaltinusfemales at any heterospecific mating frequency. We show that integrating realistic estimates of cryptic isolation with information on relative abundance and heterospecific mating frequency in the field substantially improves our understanding of the strong directional bias in F1 production previously documented in the Chrysochushybrid zone. Our results demonstrate that heterospecific mating frequency is critical to understanding the impact of cryptic post‐copulatory barriers on hybrid zone structure and dynamics, and that future studies of such barriers should incorporate field‐relevant heterospecific mating frequencies.
Conspicuous female signals have recently received substantial scientific attention, but it remains unclear if their evolution is the result of selection acting on females independently of males or if mutual selection facilitates female change. Species that express female, but not male, phenotypic variation among populations represents a useful opportunity to address this knowledge gap. White‐shouldered fairywrens (
Malurus alboscapulatus) are tropical songbirds with a well‐resolved phylogeny where female, but not male, coloration varies allopatrically across subspecies. We explored how four distinct signaling modalities, each putatively associated with increased social selection, are expressed in two populations that vary in competitive pressure on females. Females in a derived subspecies ( M. a. moretoni) have evolved more ornamented plumage and have shorter tails (a signal of social dominance) relative to an ancestral subspecies ( M. a. lorentzi) with drab females. In response to simulated territorial intrusions broadcasting female song, both sexes of M. a. moretoniare more aggressive and more coordinated with their mates in both movement and vocalizations. Finally, M. a. moretonisongs are more complex than M. a. lorentzi, but song complexity does not vary between sexes in either population. These results suggest that correlated phenotypic shifts in coloration and tail morphology in females as well as song complexity and aggression in both sexes may have occurred in response to changes in the intensity of social selection pressures. This highlights increased competitive pressures in both sexes can facilitate the evolution of complex multimodal signals.
Rarity is a population characteristic that is usually associated with a high risk of extinction. We argue here, however, that chronically rare species (those with low population densities over many generations across their entire ranges) may have individual‐level traits that make populations more resistant to extinction. The major obstacle to persistence at low density is successful fertilisation (union between egg and sperm), and chronically rare species are more likely to survive when (1) fertilisation occurs inside or close to an adult, (2) mate choice involves long‐distance signals, (3) adults or their surrogate gamete dispersers are highly mobile, or (4) the two sexes are combined in a single individual. In contrast, external fertilisation and wind‐ or water‐driven passive dispersal of gametes, or sluggish or sedentary adult life habits in the absence of gamete vectors, appear to be incompatible with sustained rarity. We suggest that the documented increase in frequency of these traits among marine genera over geological time could explain observed secular decreases in rates of background extinction. Unanswered questions remain about how common chronic rarity actually is, which traits are consistently associated with chronic rarity, and how chronically rare species are distributed among taxa, and among the world's ecosystems and regions.