A phenotypically plastic magic trait promoting reproductive isolation in sticklebacks?

Garduno Paz, M. V., Huntingford, F. A., Garrett, S. and Adams, C. E. (2020) A phenotypically plastic magic trait promoting reproductive isolation in sticklebacks? Evolutionary Ecology, 34, pp. 123-131. (doi: 10.1007/s10682-019-10015-2)

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This study identifies one possible mechanism whereby gene flow is interrupted in populations undergoing evolutionary divergence in sympatry; this is an important issue in evolutionary biology that remains poorly understood. Variation in trophic morphology was induced in three-spined stickleback by exposing them from an early age either to large benthic or to small pelagic prey. At sexual maturity, females given a choice between two breeding males, showed positive assortative mate choice for males raised on the same diet as themselves. The data indicate that this was mediated through a preference for males with trophic morphology similar to that of fish with which the females were familiar (from their pre-testing holding tanks). In trials where the female did not choose the most familiar male, the evidence suggests that either she had difficulty discriminating between two similar males or was positively choosing males with more extreme morphologies (more benthic-like or pelagic-like). This study has shown for the first time that expression of a plastic trait induced at an early age, not only results in specialisation for local foraging regimes but can also play a significant role in mate choice. This is equivalent to an environmentally induced, plastic version of the “magic traits” that promote ecologically-driven divergence in sympatry, hence the proposed descriptor “plastic magic trait”.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:M.V.G-P. was supported by a Mexican Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) scholarship (Grant No. 342451).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Huntingford, Professor Felicity and Adams, Professor Colin
Authors: Garduno Paz, M. V., Huntingford, F. A., Garrett, S., and Adams, C. E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Evolutionary Ecology
ISSN (Online):1573-8477
Published Online:08 November 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Evolutionary Ecology 34:123–131
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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