Asymmetric dominance and asymmetric mate choice oppose premating isolation after allopatric divergence.
ABSTRACT: Assortative mating promotes reproductive isolation and allows allopatric speciation processes to continue in secondary contact. As mating patterns are determined by mate preferences and intrasexual competition, we investigated male-male competition and behavioral isolation in simulated secondary contact among allopatric populations. Three allopatric color morphs of the cichlid fish Tropheus were tested against each other. Dyadic male-male contests revealed dominance of red males over bluish and yellow-blotch males. Reproductive isolation in the presence of male-male competition was assessed from genetic parentage in experimental ponds and was highly asymmetric among pairs of color morphs. Red females mated only with red males, whereas the other females performed variable degrees of heteromorphic mating. Discrepancies between mating patterns in ponds and female preferences in a competition-free, two-way choice paradigm suggested that the dominance of red males interfered with positive assortative mating of females of the subordinate morphs and provoked asymmetric hybridization. Between the nonred morphs, a significant excess of negative assortative mating by yellow-blotch females with bluish males did not coincide with asymmetric dominance among males. Hence, both negative assortative mating preferences and interference of male-male competition with positive assortative preferences forestall premating isolation, the latter especially in environments unsupportive of competition-driven spatial segregation.
Project description:Optimal foraging models of floral divergence predict that competition between two different types of pollinators will result in partitioning, increased assortative mating, and divergence of two floral phenotypes. We tested these predictions in a tropical plant-pollinator system using sexes of purple-throated carib hummingbirds (Anthracothorax jugularis) as the pollinators, red and yellow inflorescence morphs of Heliconia caribaea as the plants, and fluorescent dyes as pollen analogs in an enclosed outdoor garden. When foraging alone, males exhibited a significant preference for the yellow morph of H. caribaea, whereas females exhibited no preference. In competition, males maintained their preference for the yellow morph and through aggression caused females to over-visit the red morph, resulting in resource partitioning. Competition significantly increased within-morph dye transfer (assortative mating) relative to non-competitive environments. Competition and partitioning of color morphs by sexes of purple-throated caribs also resulted in selection for floral divergence as measured by dye deposition on stigmas. Red and yellow morphs did not differ significantly in dye deposition in the competition trials, but differences in dye deposition and preferences for morphs when sexes of purple-throated caribs foraged alone implied fixation of one or the other color morph in the absence of competition. Competition also resulted in selection for divergence in corolla length, with the red morph experiencing directional selection for longer corollas and the yellow morph experiencing stabilizing selection on corolla length. Our results thus support predictions of foraging models of floral divergence and indicate that pollinator competition is a viable mechanism for divergence in floral traits of plants.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Intense competition for access to females can lead to males exploiting different components of sexual selection, and result in the evolution of alternative mating strategies (AMSs). Males of Poecilia parae, a colour polymorphic fish, exhibit five distinct phenotypes: drab-coloured (immaculata), striped (parae), structural-coloured (blue) and carotenoid-based red and yellow morphs. Previous work indicates that immaculata males employ a sneaker strategy, whereas the red and yellow morphs exploit female preferences for carotenoid-based colours. Mating strategies favouring the maintenance of the other morphs remain to be determined. Here, we report the role of agonistic male-male interactions in influencing female mating preferences and male mating success, and in facilitating the evolution of AMSs.<h4>Results</h4>Our study reveals variation in aggressiveness among P. parae morphs during indirect and direct interactions with sexually receptive females. Two morphs, parae and yellow, use aggression to enhance their mating success (i.e., number of copulations) by 1) directly monopolizing access to females, and 2) modifying female preferences after winning agonistic encounters. Conversely, we found that the success of the drab-coloured immaculata morph, which specializes in a sneak copulation strategy, relies in its ability to circumvent both male aggression and female choice when facing all but yellow males.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Strong directional selection is expected to deplete genetic variation, yet many species show striking genetically-based polymorphisms. Most studies evoke frequency dependent selection to explain the persistence of such variation. Consistent with a growing body of evidence, our findings suggest that a complex form of balancing selection may alternatively explain the evolution and maintenance of AMSs in a colour polymorphic fish. In particular, this study demonstrates that intrasexual competition results in phenotypically distinct males exhibiting clear differences in their levels of aggression to exclude potential sexual rivals. By being dominant, the more aggressive males are able to circumvent female mating preferences for attractive males, whereas another male type incorporates subordinate behaviours that allow them to circumvent male aggression and female mating preferences. Together, these and previous results indicate that exploiting different aspects of social interactions may allow males to evolve distinct mating strategies and thus the long term maintenance of polymorphisms within populations.
Project description:Whether premating isolation is achieved by male-specific, female-specific or sex-independent assortative preferences often depends on the underlying evolutionary processes. Here we test mate preferences of males presented with females of different allopatric colour variants of the cichlid fish Tropheus sp., a Lake Tanganyika endemic with rich geographical colour pattern variation, in which the strength of sexual isolation varies between populations. We conducted two-way mate choice experiments to compare behaviour of males of a red-bodied morph (population Moliro) towards females from their own population with behaviour towards females from four allopatric populations at different stages of phylogenetic and phenotypic divergence. Males courted same-population females significantly more intensely than females of other populations, and reduced their heteromorphic courtship efforts both with increasing genetic and increasing phenotypic distinctness of the females. In particular, females of a closely related red-bodied population received significantly more courtship than either genetically distinct, similarly coloured females ('Kirschfleck' morph) or genetically related, differently coloured females ('yellow-blotch' morph), both of which were courted similarly. Genetically and phenotypically distinct females (Tropheus polli) were not courted at all. Consistent with previous female-choice experiments, female courtship activity also decreased with increasing genetic distance from the males' population. Given successful experimental and natural introgression between colour morphs and the pervasive allopatry of related variants, we consider it unlikely that assortative preferences of both sexes were driven by direct selection during periods of secondary contact or, in turn, drove colour pattern differentiation in allopatry. Rather, we suggest that sexual isolation evolved as by-product of allopatric divergence.
Project description:Sexual selection theory traditionally considers choosiness for mates to be negatively related to intra-sexual competition. Males were classically considered to be the competing, but not the choosy, sex. However, evidence of male choosiness is now accumulating. Male choosiness is expected to increase with an individual's competitive ability, and to decrease as intra-sexual competition increases. However, such predictions have never been tested in field conditions. Here, we explore male mate choice in a spider by studying size-assortative pairing in two natural sites that strongly differ in the level of male-male competition. Unexpectedly, our results demonstrate that mate choice shifts from opportunism to high selectivity as competition between males increases. Males experiencing weak competition did not exhibit size-related mating preferences. By contrast, when competition was intense we found strong size-assortative pairing due to male choice: while larger, more competitive males preferentially paired with larger, more fecund females, smaller males chose smaller females. Thus, we show that mating preferences of males vary with their competitive ability. The distinct preferences exhibited by males of different sizes seem to be an adaptive response to the lower reproductive opportunities arising from increased competition between males.
Project description:Color polymorphic sexual signals are often associated with alternative reproductive behaviors within populations, and the number, frequency, or type of morphs present often vary among populations. When these differences lead to assortative mating by population, the study of such polymorphic taxa may shed light on speciation mechanisms. We studied two populations of a lizard with polymorphic throat color, an important sexual signal. Males in one population exhibit orange, yellow, or blue throats; whereas males in the other exhibit orange, yellow, or white throats. We assessed female behavior when choosing between allopatric and sympatric males. We asked whether females discriminated more when the allopatric male was of an unfamiliar morph than when the allopatric male was similar in coloration to the sympatric male. We found that female rejection of allopatric males relative to sympatric males was more pronounced when males in a pair were more different in throat color. Our findings may help illuminate how behavioral responses to color morph differences between populations with polymorphic sexual signals contribute to reproductive isolation.
Project description:Female mating preferences can influence both intraspecific sexual selection and interspecific reproductive isolation, and have therefore been proposed to play a central role in speciation. Here, we investigate experimentally in the African cichlid fish Pundamilia nyererei if differences in male coloration between three para-allopatric populations (i.e. island populations with gene flow) of P. nyererei are predicted by differences in sexual selection by female mate choice between populations. Second, we investigate if female mating preferences are based on the same components of male coloration and go in the same direction when females choose among males of their own population, their own and other conspecific populations and a closely related para-allopatric sister-species, P. igneopinnis Mate-choice experiments revealed that females of the three populations mated species-assortatively, that populations varied in their extent of population-assortative mating and that females chose among males of their own population based on different male colours. Females of different populations exerted directional intrapopulation sexual selection on different male colours, and these differences corresponded in two of the populations to the observed differences in male coloration between the populations. Our results suggest that differences in male coloration between populations of P. nyererei can be explained by divergent sexual selection and that population-assortative mating may directly result from intrapopulation sexual selection.
Project description:The establishment of hybrid taxa relies on reproductive isolation from the parental forms, typically achieved by ecological differentiation. Here, we present an alternative mechanism, in which shifts in the strength and location of dispersal barriers facilitate diversification by hybridisation. Our case study concerns the highly diverse, stenotopic rock-dwelling cichlids of the African Great Lakes, many of which display geographic colour pattern variation. The littoral habitat of these fish has repeatedly been restructured in the course of ancient lake level fluctuations. Genetic data and an experimental cross support the hybrid origin of a distinct yellow-coloured variant of Tropheus moorii from ancient admixture between two allopatric, red and bluish variants. Deficient assortative mating preferences imply that reproductive isolation continues to be contingent on geographic separation. Linking paleolimnological data with the establishment of the hybrid variant, we sketch a selectively neutral diversification process governed solely by rearrangements of dispersal barriers.
Project description:The maintenance of genetic variation in the face of natural selection is a long-standing question in evolutionary biology. In the bluefin killifish <i>Lucania goodei</i>, male coloration is polymorphic. Males can produce either red or yellow coloration in their anal fins, and both color morphs are present in all springs. These 2 morphs are heritable and how they are maintained in nature is unknown. Here, we tested 2 mechanisms for the maintenance of the red/yellow color morphs. Negative frequency-dependent mating success predicts that rare males have a mating advantage over common males. Spatial variation in fitness predicts that different color morphs have an advantage in different microhabitat types. Using a breeding experiment, we tested these hypotheses by creating populations with different ratios of red to yellow males (5 red:1 yellow; 1 red:5 yellow) and determining male mating success on shallow and deep spawning substrates. We found no evidence of negative frequency-dependent mating success. Common morphs tended to have higher mating success, and this was particularly so on shallow spawning substrates. However, on deep substrates, red males enjoyed higher mating success than yellow males, particularly so when red males were rare. However, yellow males did not have an advantage at either depth nor when rare. We suggest that preference for red males is expressed in deeper water, possibly due to alterations in the lighting environment. Finally, male pigment levels were correlated with one another and predicted male mating success. Hence, pigmentation plays an important role in male mating success.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Sexual conflict over mating rates may favour the origin and maintenance of phenotypes with contrasting reproductive strategies. The damselfly Ischnura elegans is characterised by a female colour polymorphism that consists of one androchrome and two gynochrome female morphs. Previous studies have shown that the polymorphism is genetic and to a high extent maintained by negative frequency-dependent mating success that varies temporally and spatially. However, the role of learning in male mating preferences has received little attention. We used molecular markers to investigate differences in polyandry between female morphs. In addition, we experimentally investigated innate male mating preferences and experience-dependent shifts in male mating preferences for female morphs. RESULTS:Field and molecular data show that androchrome females were less polyandrous than gynochrome females. Interestingly, we found that naïve males showed significantly higher sexual preferences to androchrome than to gynochrome females in experimental trials. In contrast, experienced males showed no preference for androchrome females. CONCLUSIONS:The ontogenetic change in male mate preferences occurs most likely because of learned mate recognition after experience with females, which in this case does not result in a preference for one of the morphs, but rather in the loss of an innate preference for androchrome females.
Project description:Non-random female mating preferences may contribute to the maintenance of phenotypic variation in color polymorphic species. However, the effect of female preference depends on the types of male traits used as signals by receptive females. If preference signals derive from discrete male traits (i.e., morph-specific), female preferences may rapidly fix to a morph. However, female preference signals may also include condition-dependent male traits. In this scenario, female preference may differ depending on the social context (i.e., male morph availability). Male tree lizards (Urosaurus ornatus) exhibit a dewlap color polymorphism that covaries with mating behavior. Blue morph males are aggressive and defend territories, yellow males are less aggressive and defend smaller territories, and orange males are typically nomadic. Female U. ornatus are also polymorphic in dewlap color, but the covariation between dewlap color and female behavior is unknown. We performed an experiment to determine how female mate choice depends on the visual and chemical signals produced by males. We also tested whether female morphs differ in their preferences for these signals. Female preferences involved both male dewlap color and size of the ventral color patch. However, the female morphs responded to these signals differently and depended on the choice between the types of male morphs. Our experiment revealed that females may be capable of distinguishing among the male morphs using chemical signals alone. Yellow females exhibit preferences based on both chemical and visual signals, which may be a strategy to avoid ultra-dominant males. In contrast, orange females may prefer dominant males. We conclude that female U. ornatus morphs differ in mating behavior. Our findings also provide evidence for a chemical polymorphism among male lizards in femoral pore secretions.