MATE PREFERENCE ACROSS THE SPECIATION CONTINUUM IN A CLADE OF MIMETIC BUTTERFLIES
Article first published online: 20 JAN 2011
© 2011 The Author(s). Evolution© 2011 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
Volume 65, Issue 5, pages 1489–1500, May 2011
How to Cite
Merrill, R. M., Gompert, Z., Dembeck, L. M., Kronforst, M. R., McMillan, W. O. and Jiggins, C. D. (2011), MATE PREFERENCE ACROSS THE SPECIATION CONTINUUM IN A CLADE OF MIMETIC BUTTERFLIES. Evolution, 65: 1489–1500. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01216.x
- Issue published online: 26 APR 2011
- Article first published online: 20 JAN 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 20 DEC 2010 05:04AM EST
- Received May 28, 2010, Accepted December 7, 2010
- Assortative mating;
- mate choice;
- reproductive isolation;
Premating behavioral isolation is increasingly recognized as an important part of ecological speciation, where divergent natural selection causes the evolution of reproductive barriers. A number of studies have now demonstrated that traits under divergent natural selection also affect mate preferences. However, studies of single species pairs only capture a snapshot of the speciation process, making it difficult to assess the role of mate preferences throughout the entire process. Heliconius butterflies are well known for their brightly colored mimetic warning patterns, and previous studies have shown that these patterns are also used as mate recognition cues. Here, we present mate preference data for four pairs of sister taxa, representing different stages of divergence, which together allow us to compare diverging mate preferences across the continuum of Heliconius speciation. Using a novel Bayesian approach, our results support a model of ecological speciation in which strong premating isolation arises early, but continues to increase throughout the continuum from polymorphic populations through to “good,” sympatric ecologically divergent species.