Allochronic speciation, secondary contact, and reproductive character displacement in periodical cicadas (Hemiptera: Magicicada spp.): genetic, morphological, and behavioural evidence


John Cooley. Fax: (860) 486 6364;


Periodical cicadas have proven useful in testing a variety of ecological and evolutionary hypotheses because of their unusual life history, extraordinary abundance, and wide geographical range. Periodical cicadas provide the best examples of synchronous periodicity and predator satiation in the animal kingdom, and are excellent illustrations of habitat partitioning (by the three morphologically distinct species groups), incipient species (the year classes or broods), and cryptic species (a newly discovered 13-year species, Magicicada neotredecim). They are particularly useful for exploring questions regarding speciation via temporal isolation, or allochronic speciation. Recently, data were presented that provided strong support for an instance of allochronic speciation by life-cycle switching. This speciation event resulted in the formation of a new 13-year species from a 17-year species and led to secondary contact between two formerly separated lineages, one represented by the new 13-year cicadas (and their 17-year ancestors), and the other represented by the pre-existing 13-year cicadas. Allozyme frequency data, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and abdominal colour were shown to be correlated genetic markers supporting the life-cycle switching/allochronic speciation hypothesis. In addition, a striking pattern of reproductive character displacement in male call pitch and female pitch preference between the two 13-year species was discovered. In this paper we report a strong association between calling song pitch and mtDNA haplotype for 101 individuals from a single locality within the M. tredecim/M. neotredecim contact zone and a strong association between abdomen colour and mtDNA haplotype. We conclude by reviewing proposed mechanisms for allochronic speciation and reproductive character displacement.