Dynamics of the evolution of Batesian mimicry: molecular phylogenetic analysis of ant-mimicking Myrmarachne (Araneae: Salticidae) species and their ant models

Ceccarelli, F.S., and Crozier, R.H. (2007) Dynamics of the evolution of Batesian mimicry: molecular phylogenetic analysis of ant-mimicking Myrmarachne (Araneae: Salticidae) species and their ant models. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 20 (1). pp. 286-295.

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Abstract

Batesian mimicry is seen as an example of evolution by natural selection, with predation as the main driving force. The mimic is under selective pressure to resemble its model, whereas it is disadvantageous for the model to be associated with the palatable mimic. In consequence one might expect there to be an evolutionary arms race, similar to the one involving host–parasite coevolution. In this study, the evolutionary dynamics of a Batesian mimicry system of model ants and ant-mimicking salticids is investigated by comparing the phylogenies of the two groups. Although Batesian mimics are expected to coevolve with their models, we found the phylogenetic patterns of the models and the mimics to be indicative of adaptive radiation by the mimic rather than co-speciation between the mimic and the model. This shows that there is strong selection pressure on Myrmarachne, leading to a high degree of polymorphism. There is also evidence of sympatric speciation in Myrmarachne, the reproductive isolation possibly driven by female mate choice in polymorphic species.

Item ID: 2351
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1420-9101
Keywords: Batesian ant mimic; mimicry evolution; Myrmarachne phylogeny
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2009 01:26
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060399 Evolutionary Biology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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