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Mating asymmetry and the direction of evolution in the Hawaiian cricket genus Laupala


Kerry L. Shaw.Present address: Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-4415, USA.


Based on studies from native Hawaiian Drosophila, a model was proposed to explain sexual isolation and mating asymmetry, from which one could potentially infer the ‘direction of evolution’. We examined sexual isolation between allopatric cricket species of the genus Laupala, another endemic Hawaiian insect with an elaborate mating system, to begin to explore the nature of sexual isolation and mating asymmetry in closely related Hawaiian organisms. We studied sexual isolation and mating asymmetry in two contrasts. First, an inter-island comparison, including L. makaio from the older island of Maui and L. paranigra from the younger island of Hawaii, and second, an intra-island (Hawaii) comparison, including L. nigra from the older volcano of Mauna Kea and L. paranigra with a primary distribution on the younger volcanoes of Mauna Loa and Kilauea. We used a ‘no-choice’ experimental design, pairing individual males and females in homospecific or heterospecific combinations. Several behavioural aspects of courtship (proportion of male singing, latency to male singing, production of spermatophores and courtship initiation speed) were quantified as well as the success or failure of matings. We demonstrate asymmetry in sexual isolation between reciprocal combinations of L. makaio and L. paranigra. This result is examined in light of the differences in courtship behaviour manifest in the experiments with these two species. We did not find evidence of asymmetry in sexual isolation between L. nigra and L. paranigra, although differences in courtship initiation speed were evident between reciprocal combinations of these two species. In addition to the geological argument that species on older islands and older volcanoes give rise to species on younger islands and younger volcanoes, we discuss phylogenetic evidence consistent with these biogeographic hypotheses of relationships among the focal taxa. The patterns of asymmetrical sexual isolation and mating asymmetry are consistent with those found in the native Hawaiian Drosophila.