Female preference for male color is necessary and sufficient for assortative mating in 2 cichlid sister species

Selz, Oliver; Pierotti, Michele; Maan, Martine; Schmid, C.; Seehausen, Ole (2014). Female preference for male color is necessary and sufficient for assortative mating in 2 cichlid sister species. Behavioral Ecology, 25(3), pp. 612-626. Oxford University Press 10.1093/beheco/aru024

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A critical step for speciation in the face of gene flow is the origination of reproductive isolation. The evolution of assortative mating greatly facilitates this process. Assortative mating can be mediated by one or multiple cues across an array of sensory modalities. We here explore possible cues that may underlie female mate choice in a sympatric species pair of cichlid fish from Lake Victoria, Pundamilia pundamilia and Pundamilia nyererei. Previous studies identified species-specific female preferences for male coloration, but effects of other cues could not be ruled out. Therefore, we assessed female choice in a series of experiments in which we manipulated visual (color) and chemical cues. We show that the visibility of differences in nuptial hue (i.e., either blue or red) between males of the 2 species is necessary and sufficient for assortative mating by female mate choice. Such assortment mediated by a single cue may evolve relatively quickly, but could make reproductive isolation vulnerable to environmental changes. These findings confirm the important role of female mate choice for male nuptial hue in promoting the explosive speciation of African haplochromine cichlids.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Aquatic Ecology

UniBE Contributor:

Selz, Oliver; Pierotti, Michele; Maan, Martine and Seehausen, Ole

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology

ISSN:

1045-2249

Publisher:

Oxford University Press

Language:

English

Submitter:

Marcel Häsler

Date Deposited:

26 Mar 2014 14:17

Last Modified:

27 Apr 2018 08:59

Publisher DOI:

10.1093/beheco/aru024

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.45805

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/45805

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