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Rates of signal evolution are associated with the nature of interspecific communication
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.
2015 (English)In: Behavioral Ecology, ISSN 1045-2249, E-ISSN 1465-7279, Vol. 26, no 1, 83-90 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Some signals vary greatly, whereas others are remarkably similar across distantly related species. Here, we ask how the suite of receivers and information communicated correlates with signal evolution by comparing 2 different signals across the same set of species. Within the Old World leaf warblers (Phylloscopidae), each species utters 2 acoustically distinct alarm calls. The first, termed a "general" call, is used in interactions with conspecifics as a well as during confrontations with predators and nest-parasitic cuckoos. The second, termed a "rasp" call, is primarily used in the presence of nest-parasitic cuckoos. The rasp call precedes aggressive attacks on cuckoos and attracts surrounding heterospecifics that are also potential hosts. The general call attracts a wide range of species threatened by predators, including those that are not cuckoo hosts. Acoustic features of general calls evolve >5x faster than rasp calls. We argue that rasp calls show strong stasis because they have a restricted function as aggressive antiparasite signals, whereas multiple contexts and receivers have promoted divergence in general calls. These results support the idea that variation in the suite of receivers is a powerful force affecting signal evolution.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 26, no 1, 83-90 p.
Keyword [en]
animal signals, brood parasitism, cuckoos, interspecific communication, Phylloscopus, rate tests
National Category
Ecology Zoology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-252044DOI: 10.1093/beheco/aru161ISI: 000351929300013OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-252044DiVA: diva2:808787
Available from: 2015-04-29 Created: 2015-04-28 Last updated: 2015-04-29Bibliographically approved

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Wheatcroft, David
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Animal ecology
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Behavioral Ecology

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