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A general explanation for the persistence of reproductive interference.

Drury, J.P. and Anderson, C.N. and Cabezas Castillo, M.B. and Fisher, J. and McEachin, S. and Grether, G.F. (2019) 'A general explanation for the persistence of reproductive interference.', The American naturalist., 194 (2). pp. 268-275.

Abstract

Reproductive interference is widespread, despite the theoretical expectation that it should be eliminated by reproductive character displacement (RCD). A possible explanation is that females of sympatric species are too similar phenotypically for males to distinguish between them, resulting in a type of evolutionary dilemma or catch-22 in which reproductive interference persists because male mate recognition (MR) cannot evolve until female phenotypes diverge further, and vice versa. Here we illustrate and test this hypothesis with data on rubyspot damselflies (Hetaerina spp.). First, reproductive isolation owing to male MR breaks down with increasing interspecific similarity in female phenotypes. Second, comparing allopatric and sympatric populations yielded no evidence for RCD, suggesting that parallel divergence in female coloration and male MR in allopatry determines the level of reproductive isolation on secondary contact. Whenever reproductive isolation depends on male MR and females of sympatric species are phenotypically similar, the evolutionary catch-22 hypothesis offers an explanation for the persistence of reproductive interference.

Item Type:Article
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1086/704102
Publisher statement:© 2019 by The University of Chicago Press.
Date accepted:22 February 2019
Date deposited:06 March 2019
Date of first online publication:13 June 2019
Date first made open access:13 June 2020

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