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Correlational Selection for Color Pattern and Antipredator Behavior in the Garter Snake Thamnophis ordinoides
Edmund D. Brodie III
Vol. 46, No. 5 (Oct., 1992), pp. 1284-1298
Published by: Society for the Study of Evolution
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2409937
Page Count: 15
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Correlational selection favors combinations of traits and is a key element of many models of phenotypic and genetic evolution. Multiple regression techniques for measuring selection allow for the direct estimation of correlational selection gradients, yet few studies in natural populations have investigated this process. Color patterns and antipredator behaviors of snakes are thought to function interactively in predator escape and therefore may be subject to correlational selection. To investigate this hypothesis, I studied the survivorship of juvenile garter snakes, Thamnophis ordinoides, as a function of a suite of escape behaviors and color pattern. The only natural selection detected favored opposite combinations of stripedness of the color pattern and the tendency to perform during escape evasive behaviors called reversals. This selection presumably results from optical illusions created by moving patterns and their effects on visually foraging predators. Analysis of the bivariate selection surface shows that pure correlational selection can be thought of as a series of linear selection functions on one trait whose slopes depend on the value of the second trait. Alternatively, viewing the selection surface along its major axes reveals stabilizing and disruptive components of correlational selection. It is further shown that correlational selection alone can promote genetic variance and covariance within a generation. This phenomenon may be partially responsible for the extreme variation in color pattern and the genetic covariance between color pattern and behavior observed in natural populations of T. ordinoides.
Evolution © 1992 Society for the Study of Evolution