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Keywords:

  • Sexual selection;
  • signal evolution;
  • treehopper;
  • vibrational communication

Selection on advertisement signals arises from interacting sources including female choice, male–male competition, and the communication channel (i.e., the signaling environment). To identify the contribution of individual sources of selection, we used previously quantified relationships between signal traits and each putative source to predict relationships between signal variation and fitness in Enchenopa binotata treehoppers (Hemiptera: Membracidae). We then measured phenotypic selection on signals and compared predicted and realized relationships between signal traits and mating success. We recorded male signals, then measured lifetime mating success at two population densities in a realistic environment in which sources of selection could interact. We identified which sources best predicted the relationship between signal variation and mating success using a multiple regression approach. All signal traits were under selection in at least one of the two breeding seasons measured, and in some cases selection was variable between years. Female preference was the strongest source of selection shaping male signals. The E. binotata species complex is a model of ecological speciation initiated by host shifts. Signal and preference divergence contribute to behavioral isolation within the complex, and the finding that female mate preferences drive signal evolution suggests that speciation in this group results from both ecological divergence and sexual selection.