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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2010

Parallel divergence in mate guarding behaviour following colonization of a novel habitat

Karlsson, K.; Eroukhmanoff, F.; Hardling, R.; Svensson, E. I.


Ecological factors can have profound effects on mating system and mating behaviour. We investigated the effect of altered ecological conditions, following colonization of a novel habitat, on precopulatory mate guarding in a freshwater isopod (Asellus aquaticus). This isopod occurs in two different ecotypes, which coexist within several different lakes in Sweden but which utilize different habitats. These ecotypes have rapidly (ca. 40 generations) diverged in parallel among lakes in several phenotypic characters, presumably as a response to different predatory pressures. Here, we demonstrate that also mate guarding characteristics have diverged in parallel between the ecotypes in different lakes. This is one of the few studies reporting parallel evolution of mating behaviour. Furthermore, our results also indicate a potential sexual conflict, as the length of mate guarding appears to lower components of female fitness. We discuss how novel environments might have strong and rapid effects on mate guarding dynamics and mating behaviour.


Asellus aquaticus; mating behaviour; parallel evolution; precopulatory mate guarding; predation; rapid divergence; sexual conflict

Published in

Journal of Evolutionary Biology
2010, Volume: 23, number: 12, pages: 2540-2549

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Evolutionary Biology

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