Female choice undermines the emergence of strong sexual isolation between locally adapted populations of atlantic mollies (poecilia mexicana)

  • Divergent selection between ecologically dissimilar habitats promotes local adaptation, which can lead to reproductive isolation (RI). Populations in the Poecilia mexicana species complex have independently adapted to toxic hydrogen sulfide and show varying degrees of RI. Here, we examined the variation in the mate choice component of prezygotic RI. Mate choice tests across drainages (with stimulus males from another drainage) suggest that specific features of the males coupled with a general female preference for yellow color patterns explain the observed variation. Analyses of male body coloration identified the intensity of yellow fin coloration as a strong candidate to explain this pattern, and common-garden rearing suggested heritable population differences. Male sexual ornamentation apparently evolved differently across sulfide-adapted populations, for example because of differences in natural counterselection via predation. The ubiquitous preference for yellow color ornaments in poeciliid females likely undermines the emergence of strong RI, as female discrimination in favor of own males becomes weaker when yellow fin coloration in the respective sulfide ecotype increases. Our study illustrates the complexity of the (partly non-parallel) pathways to divergence among replicated ecological gradients. We suggest that future work should identify the genomic loci involved in the pattern reported here, making use of the increasing genomic and transcriptomic datasets available for our study system.

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Author:Claudia Zimmer, Rüdiger RieschORCiD, Jonas JourdanORCiDGND, David Bierbach, Lenin Arias-Rodriguez, Martin PlathORCiDGND
Pubmed Id:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29724050
Parent Title (English):Genes
Place of publication:Basel
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2018
Date of first Publication:2018/05/02
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2019/10/24
Tag:barrier loci; ecological speciation; reproductive isolation; sexual ornament; species discrimination
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Institutes:Biowissenschaften / Biowissenschaften
Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft
Biowissenschaften / Institut für Ökologie, Evolution und Diversität
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0