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Conspecific Sperm Precedence is an Effective Barrier to Hybridization Between Closely Related Species

Daniel J. Howard, Pamela G. Gregory, Jiming Chu and Michael L. Cain
Evolution
Vol. 52, No. 2 (Apr., 1998), pp. 511-516
DOI: 10.2307/2411086
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2411086
Page Count: 6
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Conspecific Sperm Precedence is an Effective Barrier to Hybridization Between Closely Related Species
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Abstract

Conspecific sperm precedence is widespread in animals, appears to evolve rapidly, and is thought to have the potential to prevent hybridization between closely related species. However, to date no study has tested the isolating potential of such a barrier in mixed populations of two taxa under conditions in which other potential barriers to gene flow are controlled for or are prevented from operating. We tested the isolating potential of conspecific sperm precedence in the ground crickets Allonemobius fasciatus and A. socius in population cage experiments in which the frequency of the two species was varied. Despite the observation of abundant interspecific matings, the proportions of hybrid progeny were low and differed statistically from the proportions expected in the absence of conspecific sperm precedence. The results demonstrate that conspecific sperm precedence can severely limit gene flow between closely related species, even when one species is less abundant than the other.

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