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Diversification of a Food-Mimicking Male Ornament via Sensory Drive
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5791-336X
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal Ecology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Mathematics, Analysis and Applied Mathematics.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal Ecology.
2012 (English)In: Current Biology, ISSN 0960-9822, E-ISSN 1879-0445, Vol. 22, no 15, 1440-1443 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The evolutionary divergence of sexual signals is often important during the formation of new animal species, but our understanding of the origin of signal diversity is limited [1, 2]. Sensory drive, the optimization of communication signal efficiency through matching to the local environment, has been highlighted as a potential promoter of diversification and speciation [3]. The swordtail characin (Corynopoma riisei) is a tropical fish in which males display a flag-like ornament that elicits female foraging behavior during courtship. We show that the shape of the male ornament covaries with female diet across natural populations. More specifically, natural populations in which the female diet is more dominated by ants exhibit male ornaments more similar to the shape of an ant. Feeding experiments confirm that females habituated to a diet of ants prefer to bite at male ornaments from populations with a diet more dominated by ants. Our results show that the male ornament functions as a "fishing lure" that is diversifying in shape to match local variation in female search images employed during foraging. This direct link between variation in female feeding ecology and the evolutionary diversification of male sexual ornaments suggests that sensory drive may be a common engine of signal divergence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 22, no 15, 1440-1443 p.
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-181121DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.05.050ISI: 000307415000026OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-181121DiVA: diva2:555307
Available from: 2012-09-19 Created: 2012-09-17 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Fishing for Females: Sensory Exploitation in the Swordtail Characin
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fishing for Females: Sensory Exploitation in the Swordtail Characin
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Mate choice plays an important role in sexual selection and speciation. The evolution of mate choice is intriguing in cases where choosy individuals gain little except for genetic material from the mate and where the trait used as a criterion for the choice is costly to its bearer. The sensory exploitation hypothesis is an interesting idea that applies to such cases because it suggests that sexual preferences may arise as side-effects of preferences that are under selection in other contexts. The role of mate choice in speciation is strong but is debated because the reasons for population divergence in mate preferences and sexual traits are sometimes hard to explain. Also in this context sensory exploitation offers a potential explanation in that a link between natural and sexual selection may result in divergence in sexual selection whenever populations differ in natural selection.

In this thesis, I test several aspects of this hypothesis in a species of fish, the swordtail characin (Corynopoma riisei). In this species males display a flag-like ornament that grows from the operculum. Because females respond to this ornament by biting at it, it has been proposed to act as a food-mimic. By manipulating female food type and quantity, and testing the resulting female preference for the male ornament, I find support for the theory that the preference has evolved through sensory exploitation and that females indeed appear to relate the ornament to a food item. Furthermore, I show that sensory exploitation can lead to morphological divergence among natural populations in this species. Apart from the flag-ornament, other courtship signals are also investigated. The results show that the relative importance of different signals may vary depending on receiver motivation. This suggests that various aspects of both male courtship signals and the conditions during which they are being signalled should be considered to gain a full understanding of mate choice and its role in sexual selection and speciation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2013. 43 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1076
Keyword
Sexual selection, Mate choice, Courtship, Sensory bias, Plasticity, Corynopoma riisei, Mulitiple signalling
National Category
Evolutionary Biology Zoology
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-207334 (URN)978-91-554-8758-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-10-31, Ekmansalen, Norbyvägen 14, Uppsala, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-10-09 Created: 2013-09-12 Last updated: 2014-01-23

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Kolm, NiclasAmcoff, MirjamMann, Richard P.Arnqvist, Göran

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