Convergent and divergent patterns of morphological differentiation provide more evidence for reproductive character displacement in a wood cricket Gryllus fultoni (Orthoptera: Gryllidae)

Yikweon Jang, Yong Jin Won, Jae Chun Choe

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11 Scopus citations


Background. In ecological character displacement, traits involved in reproductive isolation may not evolve in arbitrary directions when changes in these traits are by-products of adaptation to an ecological niche. In reproductive character displacement, however, selection acts directly on reproductive characters to enhance the degree of reproductive isolation between sympatric populations. Thus, the direction of change in reproductive characters may be arbitrary in relation to changes in other morphological characters. We characterized both tegminal characters and characters indicative of body size in sympatric and allopatric populations of Gryllus fultoni, a species displaying character displacement in its calling song characters in areas of sympatry with G. vernalis populations, to infer the nature and direction of selection acting on reproductive and morphological characters in sympatry. Results. Except for mirror area, the number of teeth in a file, and ovipositor length of G. fultoni, all male and female morphological characters in G. fultoni and G. vernalis exhibited a uniform tendency to decrease in size with increasing latitude. There was no significant variation in female morphological characters between sympatric and allopatric G. fultoni populations. However, males of sympatric and allopatric G. fultoni populations significantly differed in head width, hind femur length, and mirror area even after controlling for clinal factors. Head width and hind femur length of G. fultoni were more similar to those of G. vernalis in sympatric populations than in allopatric populations, resulting in morphological convergence of G. fultoni and G. vernalis in sympatry. However, the mirror area of G. fultoni displayed the divergent pattern in relation to the sympatric G. vernalis populations. Conclusion. Divergence-enhancing selection may be acting on mirror area as well as calling song characters, whereas local adaptation or clinal effects may explain variation in other morphological characters in sympatric populations of G. fultoni. This study also suggests that structures and behaviors that directly enhance reproductive isolation may evolve together, independently of other morphological traits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number27
JournalBMC Evolutionary Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to Eunji Park and Boa Kim for morphological measurements and to Susan Lappan for critical comments. This paper was greatly improved by critical reviews of anonymous referees. This work was supported financially by the undergraduate research fellowships of the Ewha University to students for morphological measurements, by an Ewha University research grant 2004 to Y-JW, and by an Ewha University research grant to JCC.


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