Can differences in autonomous selfing ability explain differences in range size among sister-taxa pairs of Collinsia (Plantaginaceae)? An extension of Baker's Law


Author for correspondence:
April M. Randle
Tel: +1 412 624 4265


  • • Species with greater selfing ability are predicted to be better adapted for colonizing new habitats (Baker's Law). Here, we tested an expansion of this hypothesis: that species proficient at autonomous selfing have larger range sizes than their less proficient sister taxa. We also tested competing hypotheses regarding seed production and niche breadth on range size.
  • • Floral traits affecting the proficiency of autonomous selfing were measured and seed production was calculated for six sister-taxa pairs in the clade Collinsia. We tested for the hypothesized effects of these variables on elevational distribution and range size.
  • • We found that species most proficient at selfing had significantly larger range sizes than their sister-taxa that were less proficient at selfing. Species proficient at autonomous selfing occupied a higher mean elevation than their sister taxa, but they did not differ in their total elevational range. Species with greater seed production did not have larger range sizes.
  • • Our results extend Baker's Law, suggesting that species proficient at autonomous selfing are better adapted to establish new populations and thus can more readily expand their range. Autonomous selfing ability may play a vital role in explaining variance in range size among other species.