Host Shifts, the Evolution of Communication, and Speciation in the <i>Enchenopa binotata</i> Species Complex of Treehoppers

Reginald B. Cocroft, Rafael L RodrÍGuez and Randy E. Hunt

in Specialization, Speciation, and Radiation

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780520251328
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933828 | DOI:
Host Shifts, the Evolution of Communication, and Speciation in the Enchenopa binotata Species Complex of Treehoppers

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This chapter examines the role of communication systems in the diversification of the Enchenopa binotata species complex of treehoppers. It first discusses the role of ecological factors in promoting assortative mating among populations of E. binotata on ancestral and novel species of host plant. The chapter then looks at the role of sexual communication in behavioral isolation among E. binotata species in the present. It also explores sources of divergent sexual and natural selection that could alter the evolutionary trajectory of mating signals and preferences after a host shift; how developmental influences on sexual communication may affect gene flow between populations on ancestral and novel hosts (before any evolutionary change in communication systems has occurred); and how developmental plasticity may generate changes in sexual selection regimes. The chapter argues that, for plant-feeding insects, sexual-communication systems provide an important link between host use, assortative mating, and divergent selection, and may be a key component of sympatric speciation through host shifts.

Keywords: Enchenopa binotata; treehoppers; host shifts; sympatric speciation; assortative mating; sexual communication; behavioral isolation; sexual selection; natural selection; plant-feeding insects

Chapter.  9879 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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