A role for learning in population divergence of mate preferences

Section for Animal Ecology, Department of Biology, Lund University, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden.
Evolution (Impact Factor: 4.61). 11/2010; 64(11):3101-13. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01085.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Learning and other forms of phenotypic plasticity have been suggested to enhance population divergence. Mate preferences can develop by learning, and species recognition might not be entirely genetic. We present data on female mate preferences of the banded demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens) that suggest a role for learning in population divergence and species recognition. Populations of this species are either allopatric or sympatric with a phenotypically similar congener (C. virgo). These two species differ mainly in the amount of wing melanization in males, and wing patches thus mediate sexual isolation. In sympatry, sexually experienced females discriminate against large melanin wing patches in heterospecific males. In contrast, in allopatric populations within the same geographic region, females show positive ("open-ended") preferences for such large wing patches. Virgin C. splendens females do not discriminate against heterospecific males. Moreover, physical exposure experiments of such virgin females to con- or hetero-specific males significantly influences their subsequent mate preferences. Species recognition is thus not entirely genetic and it is partly influenced by interactions with mates. Learning causes pronounced population divergence in mate preferences between these weakly genetically differentiated populations, and results in a highly divergent pattern of species recognition at a small geographic scale.

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Available from: Anna Runemark, Sep 29, 2015
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    • "That vocalizations are likely influenced by the environment (i.e. learning from neighbours) does not undermine our inference of the existence of a reproductive barrier because reproductive isolation between populations can be maintained by selection even if characters involved in mating are not highly heritable (Svensson et al., 2010; Olofsson et al., 2011; Verzijden et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Behavioural barriers to gene flow can play a key role in speciation and hybridisation. Birdsong is well-known for its potential contribution to such behavioural barriers as it may affect gene flow through an effect on territorial and mating success across population boundaries. Conspecific recognition and heterospecific discrimination of acoustic variation can prevent or limit hybridization in areas where closely related species meet. Here we tested the impact of song differences on territorial response levels between two adjacent Henicorhina wood-wren species along an elevational gradient in Colombia. In an earlier study, playback results had revealed an asymmetric response pattern, with low-elevation H. leucophrys bangsi responding strongly to any conspecific or heterospecific song variant, whereas high-elevation H. anachoreta birds discriminated, responding more strongly to their own songs than to those of bangsi. However, in that study we could not exclude a role for relative familiarity to the song stimuli. In the current study we confirm the asymmetric response pattern with song stimuli recorded close to and on both sides of the distinct acoustic boundary. Furthermore, we also show a previously unnoticed divergence in singing style between these two wood-wren species, which may contribute to an acoustically guided barrier to hybridization in this secondary contact zone.
    Behaviour 07/2015; DOI:10.1163/1568539X-00003309 · 1.23 Impact Factor
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    • "and Svensson 2010 "
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    ABSTRACT: Adaptive radiations have long served as living libraries to study the build-up of species richness, however, they do not provide good models for radiations that exhibit negligible adaptive disparity. Here we review work on damselflies to argue that non-adaptive mechanisms were predominant in the radiation of this group and have driven species divergence through sexual selection arising from male–female mating interactions. Three damselfly genera (Calopteryx, Enallagma and Ischnura) are highlighted and the extent of (i) adaptive ecological divergence in niche use and (ii) non-adaptive differentiation in characters associated with reproduction (e.g. sexual morphology and behaviours) evaluated. We demonstrate that species diversification in the genus Calopteryx is caused by non-adaptive divergence in colouration and behaviour affecting premating isolation, and structural differentiation in reproductive morphology affecting postmating isolation. Similarly, the vast majority of diversification events in the sister genera Enallagma and Ischnura are entirely driven by differentiation in genital structures used in species recognition. The finding that closely related species can show negligible ecological differences yet are completely reproductively isolated suggests that the evolution of reproductive isolation can be uncoupled from niche-based divergent natural selection, challenging traditional niche models of species coexistence.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Evolutionary Applications 04/2015; DOI:10.1111/eva.12269 · 3.90 Impact Factor
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    • "In this paper, we show that the expression of their preferences increases with experience as well. Sexual behaviour in many insect species develops under the influence of experience (Bailey and Zuk, 2009; Dukas, 2008; Fowler-Finn and Rodriguez, 2012; Rebar et al., 2011; Svensson et al., 2010; Westerman et al., 2012), as it is in many vertebrates and other species (Verzijden et al., 2012). In most studies , the direction of preferences is studied, but it might be equally interesting to know which phenotypic and behavioural characters mediate the formation of the preferences. "
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    ABSTRACT: Mate preferences can vary in the direction of the preference, as well as the strength of the preference, and both direction and strength of preference are known to be plastic in many species. Preferences might have a learned component, and current and past social context may influence an individual's choosiness. In the damselfly species Calopteryx splendens, females increase the strength of their mate preferences with sexual experience. Here we show that sexually naïve females selectively respond to conspecific courtship as soon as physical contact has been established, suggesting a role for tactile cues perceived through interspecific morphological differences in secondary reproductive traits. In addition our data also shows that males and females selectively respond to the intensity of the courtship of the potential, conspecific mate, while ignoring such information in heterospecific potential mates. These results underscore that mate choice is the result of dynamic interactions between the sexes, where both current and past information are integrated.
    Behavioural Processes 11/2014; 109. DOI:10.1016/j.beproc.2014.08.023 · 1.57 Impact Factor
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