Female preference for sympatric vs. allopatric male throat color morphs in the mesquite lizard (Sceloporus grammicus) species complex

Elizabeth Bastiaans, Mary Jane Bastiaans, Gen Morinaga, José Gamaliel Castañeda Gaytán, Jonathon C. Marshall, Brendan Bane, Fausto Méndez De La Cruz, Barry Sinervo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Color polymorphic sexual signals are often associated with alternative reproductive behaviors within populations, and the number, frequency, or type of morphs present often vary among populations. When these differences lead to assortative mating by population, the study of such polymorphic taxa may shed light on speciation mechanisms. We studied two populations of a lizard with polymorphic throat color, an important sexual signal. Males in one population exhibit orange, yellow, or blue throats; whereas males in the other exhibit orange, yellow, or white throats. We assessed female behavior when choosing between allopatric and sympatric males. We asked whether females discriminated more when the allopatric male was of an unfamiliar morph than when the allopatric male was similar in coloration to the sympatric male. We found that female rejection of allopatric males relative to sympatric males was more pronounced when males in a pair were more different in throat color. Our findings may help illuminate how behavioral responses to color morph differences between populations with polymorphic sexual signals contribute to reproductive isolation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere93197
JournalPloS one
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 9 2014

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