Population differentiation without speciation.

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113 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Population differentiation is often viewed as an important step towards speciation, and part of the rationale for conserving variation at the intraspecific level is that the potential to generate more biological diversity should be retained. Yet, speciation is not an inevitable consequence of population divergence. This paper reviews recent work on the Trinidadian guppy, Poecilia reticulata, a species that is renowned for its capacity for population differentiation. Guppy populations evolve rapidly, within 10(1) to 10(2) generations, as a response to changes in selection exerted by predators. The rates of evolution involved can be up to seven orders of magnitude greater than those seen in the fossil record. Sexual selection, particularly female choice, appears to reinforce the divergence that natural selection has generated. Perplexingly, however, there is no reproductive isolation (either prezygotic or postzygotic) between populations, even those that have been separated for at least 10(6) generations. Sexual conflict may be the key to explaining this absence of speciation. Male reproductive behaviour, particularly the high incidence of sneaky mating, may be instrumental in producing sufficient gene flow to prevent reproductive isolation. Sneaky mating has the potential to undermine female choice, and is known to be an important means of sperm transfer in wild populations. Sexual dimorphism, also a result of sexual conflict in guppies, may inhibit speciation in another way. Morphological differences between the sexes, that have arisen for reproductive reasons, mean that males and females are pre-adapted for different foraging niches. This, in turn, reduces the opportunity for the development of feeding polymorphisms, a mechanism that seems to have been important in the sympatric speciation of other fish species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-286
Number of pages12
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B
Volume353
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 1998

Keywords

  • Poecilia reticulata
  • Trinidadian guppy
  • sexual conflict
  • evolutionary rates
  • reproductive isolation
  • GUPPY POECILIA-RETICULATA
  • COSTLY MATE PREFERENCES
  • LIFE-HISTORY EVOLUTION
  • MALE COLOR PATTERNS
  • MALE MATING SUCCESS
  • SEXUAL SELECTION
  • CICHLID FISHES
  • TRINIDADIAN GUPPIES
  • FEMALE CHOICE
  • ARCTIC CHARR

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