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Sexual selection accelerates signal evolution during speciation in birds


Seddon, N and Botero, CA and Tobias, JA and Dunn, PO and MacGregor, HEA and Rubenstein, DR and Uy, AC and Weir, JT and Whittingham, LA and Safran, RJ, Sexual selection accelerates signal evolution during speciation in birds, Royal Society of London. Proceedings. Biological Sciences, 280, (1766) Article 20131065. ISSN 0962-8452 (2013) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

DOI: doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.1065


Sexual selection is proposed to be an important driver of diversification in animal systems, yet previous tests of this hypothesis have produced mixed results and the mechanisms involved remain unclear. Here, we use a novel phylogenetic approach to assess the influence of sexual selection on patterns of evolutionary change during 84 recent speciation events across 23 passerine bird families. We show that elevated levels of sexual selection are associated with more rapid phenotypic divergence between related lineages, and that this effect is restricted to male plumage traits proposed to function in mate choice and species recognition. Conversely, we found no evidence that sexual selection promoted divergence in female plumage traits, or in male traits related to foraging and locomotion. These results provide strong evidence that female choice and male–male competition are dominant mechanisms driving divergence during speciation in birds, potentially linking sexual selection to the accelerated evolution of pre-mating reproductive isolation.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:sexual selection, comparative analysis, speciation
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Evolutionary biology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:MacGregor, HEA (Ms Hannah MacGregor)
ID Code:111622
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:133
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2016-09-27
Last Modified:2016-10-11
Downloads:179 View Download Statistics

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