We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Predicting evolutionary responses to interspecific interference in the wild.

Grether, G.F. and Drury, J.P. and Okamoto, K. and McEachin, S. and Anderson, C. (2020) 'Predicting evolutionary responses to interspecific interference in the wild.', Ecology letters., 23 (2). pp. 221-230.


Many interspecifically territorial species interfere with each other reproductively, and in some cases, aggression toward heterospecifics may be an adaptive response to interspecific mate competition. This hypothesis was recently formalized in an agonistic character displacement (ACD) model which predicts that species should evolve to defend territories against heterospecific rivals above a threshold level of reproductive interference. To test this prediction, we parameterized the model with field estimates of reproductive interference for 32 sympatric damselfly populations and ran evolutionary simulations. Asymmetries in reproductive interference made the outcome inherently unpredictable in some cases, but 80% of the model’s stable outcomes matched levels of heterospecific aggression in the field, significantly exceeding chance expectations. In addition to bolstering the evidence for ACD, this paper introduces a new, predictive approach to testing character displacement theory that, if applied to other systems, could help resolve longstanding questions about the importance of character displacement processes in nature.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This is the accepted version of the following article: Grether, G.F., Drury, J.P., Okamoto, K., McEachin, S. & Anderson, C. (2020). Predicting evolutionary responses to interspecific interference in the wild. Ecology Letters 23(2): 221-230, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Date accepted:07 September 2019
Date deposited:09 September 2019
Date of first online publication:15 November 2019
Date first made open access:15 November 2020

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar