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Research article2011Peer reviewed

Rapid population divergence linked with co-variation between coloration and sexual display in strawberry poison frogs

Rudh Andreas, Rogell Björn, Håstad Olle, Qvarnström Anna


The likelihood of speciation is assumed to increase when sexually selected traits diverge together with ecologically important traits. According to sexual selection theory, the evolution of exaggerated display behavior is driven by increased mating success, but limited by natural selection, for example, through predation. However, the evolution of aposematic coloration (i.e., an ecologically important trait) could relieve the evolution of exaggerated display behavior from the bound of predation, resulting in joint divergence in aposematic coloration and sexual display behavior between populations. We tested this idea by examining conspicuousness, using color contrasts between individuals and their native backgrounds, and sexual display of 118 males from genetically diverged populations of the Strawberry poison frog, Dendrobates pumilio. Our results show that the level of conspicuousness of the population predicts the sexual display behavior of males. Males from conspicuous populations used more exposed calling sites. We argue that changes in aposematic coloration may rapidly cause not only postmating isolation due to poorly adapted hybrids, but also premating isolation through shifts in mating behaviors

Published in

2011, Volume: 65, number: 5, pages: 1271-1282

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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