Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of procbThe Royal Society PublishingProceedings BAboutBrowse by SubjectAlertsFree Trial
Proc Biol Sci. 2004 July 22; 271(1547): 1521–1528.
PMCID: PMC1691753

Reproductive isolation caused by visual predation on migrants between divergent environments.


In theory, natural selection can drive adaptation within species while simultaneously promoting the formation of new species by causing the evolution of reproductive isolation. Cryptic coloration is widespread in nature and is generally considered to be a clear visual example of adaptation. I provide evidence that population divergence in cryptic coloration can also cause reproductive isolation. First, a manipulative field experiment using walking-stick insects demonstrates that the relative survival of different colour-pattern morphs depends on the host-plant species on which they are resting, but only in the presence of avian predation. Second, natural populations adapted to different host plants have diverged in colour-pattern-morph frequencies such that between-host migrants are more likely to be the locally less-cryptic morph than are residents. Collectively, these data indicate that high rates of visual predation on less-cryptic migrants are likely to reduce encounters, and thus interbreeding, between host-associated populations. Comparison with previous estimates of sexual isolation reveals that the contribution of selection against between-host migrants to total premating isolation is as strong as, or stronger than, that of sexual isolation. These findings highlight the potential role of natural selection against migrants between divergent environments in the formation of new species.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (183K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Bond Alan B, Kamil Alan C. Visual predators select for crypticity and polymorphism in virtual prey. Nature. 2002 Feb 7;415(6872):609–613. [PubMed]
  • Funk Daniel J, Filchak Kenneth E, Feder Jeffrey L. Herbivorous insects: model systems for the comparative study of speciation ecology. Genetica. 2002 Nov;116(2-3):251–267. [PubMed]
  • Hendry AP, Wenburg JK, Bentzen P, Volk EC, Quinn TP. Rapid evolution of reproductive isolation in the wild: evidence from introduced salmon. Science. 2000 Oct 20;290(5491):516–519. [PubMed]
  • Hendry AP, Day T, Taylor EB. Population mixing and the adaptive divergence of quantitative traits in discrete populations: a theoretical framework for empirical tests. Evolution. 2001 Mar;55(3):459–466. [PubMed]
  • Jiggins CD, Naisbit RE, Coe RL, Mallet J. Reproductive isolation caused by colour pattern mimicry. Nature. 2001 May 17;411(6835):302–305. [PubMed]
  • Nosil P, Crespi BJ. Does gene flow constrain adaptive divergence or vice versa? A test using ecomorphology and sexual isolation in Timema cristinae walking-sticks. Evolution. 2004 Jan;58(1):102–112. [PubMed]
  • Nosil Patrik, Crespi Bernard J, Sandoval Cristina P. Host-plant adaptation drives the parallel evolution of reproductive isolation. Nature. 2002 May 23;417(6887):440–443. [PubMed]
  • Nosil P, Crespi BJ, Sandoval CP. Reproductive isolation driven by the combined effects of ecological adaptation and reinforcement. Proc Biol Sci. 2003 Sep 22;270(1527):1911–1918. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Ramsey Justin, Bradshaw HD, Jr, Schemske Douglas W. Components of reproductive isolation between the monkeyflowers Mimulus lewisii and M. cardinalis (Phrymaceae). Evolution. 2003 Jul;57(7):1520–1534. [PubMed]
  • Rundle HD, Nagel L, Wenrick Boughman J, Schluter D. Natural selection and parallel speciation in sympatric sticklebacks. Science. 2000 Jan 14;287(5451):306–308. [PubMed]
  • Tauber CA, Tauber MJ. Sympatric speciation based on allelic changes at three Loci: evidence from natural populations in two habitats. Science. 1977 Sep 23;197(4310):1298–1299. [PubMed]
  • Vamosi Steven M, Schluter Dolph. Impacts of trout predation on fitness of sympatric sticklebacks and their hybrids. Proc Biol Sci. 2002 May 7;269(1494):923–930. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Via S, Bouck AC, Skillman S. Reproductive isolation between divergent races of pea aphids on two hosts. II. Selection against migrants and hybrids in the parental environments. Evolution. 2000 Oct;54(5):1626–1637. [PubMed]

Articles from Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences are provided here courtesy of The Royal Society