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Male behaviour drives assortative reproduction during the initial stage of secondary contact


Heathcote, RJP and While, GM and MacGregor, HEA and Sciberras, J and Leroy, C and D'Ettorre, P and Uller, T, Male behaviour drives assortative reproduction during the initial stage of secondary contact, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 29, (5) pp. 1003-1015. ISSN 1010-061X (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 European Society for Evolutionary Biology

DOI: doi:10.1111/jeb.12840


Phenotypic divergence in allopatry can facilitate speciation by reducing the likelihood that individuals of different lineages hybridize during secondary contact. However, few studies have established the causes of reproductive isolation in the crucial early stages of secondary contact. Here, we establish behavioural causes of assortative reproduction between two phenotypically divergent lineages of the European wall lizard (Podarcis muralis), which have recently come into secondary contact. Parentage was highly assortative in experimental contact zones. However, despite pronounced divergence in male phenotypes, including chemical and visual sexual signals, there was no evidence that females discriminated between males of the two lineages in staged interactions or under naturalistic free-ranging conditions. Instead, assortative reproduction was driven by male mate preferences and, to a lesser extent, male-male competition. The effects were more pronounced when the habitat structure promoted high lizard densities. These results emphasize that assortative reproduction can occur in the absence of female choice and that male behaviour may play an important role in limiting hybridization during the initial stages of secondary contact.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:hybridisation, lizards, sexual selection, male-male competition, assortative mating, hybridization, male–male competition, mate choice, Podarcis muralis, secondary contact
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal behaviour
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:While, GM (Dr Geoff While)
UTAS Author:MacGregor, HEA (Ms Hannah MacGregor)
ID Code:108012
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:25
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2016-04-04
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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