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REPRODUCTIVE CHARACTER DISPLACEMENT AND SIGNAL ONTOGENY IN A SYMPATRIC ASSEMBLAGE OF ELECTRIC FISH

William G. R. Crampton, Nathan R. Lovejoy and Joseph C. Waddell
Evolution
Vol. 65, No. 6 (JUNE 2011), pp. 1650-1666
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41240762
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
REPRODUCTIVE CHARACTER DISPLACEMENT AND SIGNAL ONTOGENY IN A SYMPATRIC ASSEMBLAGE OF ELECTRIC FISH
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Abstract

The reproductive signals of two or more taxa may diverge in areas of sympatry, due to selection against costly reproductive interference. This divergence, termed reproductive character displacement (RCD), is expected in species-rich assemblages, where interspecific signal partitioning among closely related species is common. However, RCD is usually documented from simple twotaxon cases, via geographical tests for greater divergence of reproductive traits in sympatry than in allopatry. We propose a novel approach to recognizing and understanding RCD in multi-species communities—one that traces the displacement of signals within multivariate signal space during the ontogeny of individual animals. We argue that a case for RCD can be made if the amount of signal displacement between a pair of species after maturation is negatively correlated to distance in signal space before maturation. Our application of this approach, using a dataset of communication signals from a sympatric Amazonian assemblage of the electric fish genus Gymnotus, provides strong evidence for RCD among multiple species. We argue that RCD arose from the costs of heterospecific mismating, but interacted with sexual selection—favoring the evolution of conspicuous male signals that not only serve for mate-choice, but which simultaneously facilitate species recognition.

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