Evol Ecol Res 6: 1099-1106 (2004)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Evolution of asymmetry in sexual isolation: a criticism of a test case

Emilio Rolán-Alvarez*

Departamento de Bioquímica, Genética e Inmunología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Vigo, Campus Universitario, 36310 Vigo, Spain

e-mail: rolan@uvigo.es


Arnold and co-workers (1996) developed a quantitative model of mating preference, the triple Gaussian model, which predicts a quadratic relationship between asymmetry in sexual isolation and evolutionary (behavioural) divergence. They used a salamander mating data set to contrast this and alternative models (Kaneshiro and mating propensity models) to explain the causes of asymmetry in sexual isolation. However, they estimated asymmetry in sexual isolation and behavioural divergence from the same mating pairs, whereas they should have used genetic divergence to estimate independently the evolutionary divergence (genetic divergence between the same salamander species was available; Tilley et al., 1990). I show here that their measure of behavioural divergence is actually an estimate of sexual isolation, and that the quadratic relationship predicted by their model is also expected whenever asymmetry is unrelated to sexual isolation. It can be concluded that the triple Gaussian model cannot presently be distinguished from alternative models.

Keywords: assortative mating, mating behaviour, model testing, reproductive isolation, sexual isolation.

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