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Interspecific aggression, not interspecific mating, drives character displacement in the wing coloration of male rubyspot damselflies (Hetaerina)

  • Author(s): Drury, JP
  • Grether, GF
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved. Traits that mediate intraspecific social interactions may overlap in closely related sympatric species, resulting in costly between-species interactions. Such interactions have principally interested investigators studying the evolution of reproductive isolation via reproductive character displacement (RCD) or reinforcement, yet in addition to reproductive interference, interspecific trait overlap can lead to costly between-species aggression. Previous research on rubyspot damselflies (Hetaerina spp.) demonstrated that sympatric shifts in male wing colour patterns and competitor recognition reduce interspecific aggression, supporting the hypothesis that agonistic character displacement (ACD) drove trait shifts. However, a recent theoretical model shows that RCD overshadows ACD if the same male trait is used for both female mate recognition and male competitor recognition. To determine whether female mate recognition is based on male wing coloration in Hetaerina, we conducted a phenotype manipulation experiment. Compared to control males, male H. americana with wings manipulated to resemble a sympatric congener (H. titia) suffered no reduction in mating success. Thus, female mate recognition is not based on species differences in male wing coloration. Experimental males did, however, experience higher interspecific fighting rates and reduced survival compared to controls. These results greatly strengthen the case forACD and highlight the mechanistic distinction between ACD and RCD.

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