SEXUALLY MONOMORPHIC MATING PREFERENCES CONTRIBUTE TO PREMATING ISOLATION BASED ON SONG IN EUROPEAN GREEN LACEWINGS

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Abstract

When species are in intermediate stages of divergence, complicated patterns of reproductive isolation can arise among males and females of the incipient species. The Chrysoperla carnea group of green lacewings (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) has recently experienced rapid speciation. They possess sexually monomorphic mating signals that were assumed to be important in mate recognition. Our objective was to compare patterns of reproductive isolation among five European species within the species complex as well as sex differences in mating strategies that contribute to those patterns. The species were in fact reproductively isolated based on mating signals. In addition, different species showed different degrees of responsiveness to conspecific signals, and those species that responded more frequently to conspecific signals were less discriminating against heterospecific signals. This suggests differences in mating strategies among species that may be related to population densities and heterospecific encounter rates. Sexual dimorphism in mating preference was apparent only in C. agilis, whose males were more responsive to all signals and less discriminating against heterospecific signals compared to females. Thus high variance in male quality may be characteristic of C. agilis, but not the remaining four species, whose male versus female mating strategies were similar.

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