Vocal divergence is concordant with genomic evidence for strong reproductive isolation in grasshopper mice ( Onychomys )

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2019
Authors:Campbell, Arévalo, Martin, Chen, Sun, Rowe, Webster, Searle, Pasch
Keywords:acoustic communication, behavioral isolation, contact zone, hybridization, reproductive character displacement, speciation

Behavioral barriers to gene flow often evolve faster than intrinsic incompatibilities and can eliminate the opportunity for hybridization between interfertile species. While acoustic signal divergence is a common driver of premating isolation in birds and in‐ sects, its contribution to speciation in mammals is less studied. Here we characterize the incidence of, and potential barriers to, hybridization among three closely related species of grasshopper mice (genus Onychomys). All three species use long‐distance acoustic signals to attract and localize mates; Onychomys arenicola and Onychomys torridus are acoustically similar and morphologically cryptic whereas Onychomys leu‐ cogaster is larger and acoustically distinct. We used genotyping‐by‐sequencing (GBS) to test for evidence of introgression in 227 mice from allopatric and sympatric lo‐ calities in the western United States and northern Mexico. We conducted laboratory mating trials for all species pairs to assess reproductive compatibility, and recorded vocalizations from O. arenicola and O. torridus in sympatry and allopatry to test for evidence of acoustic character displacement. Hybridization was rare in nature and, contrary to prior evidence for O. torridus/O. arenicola hybrids, only involved O. leu‐ cogaster and O. arenicola. In contrast, laboratory crosses between O. torridus and O. arenicola produced litters whereas O. leucogaster and O. arenicola crosses did not. Call fundamental frequency in O. torridus and O. arenicola was indistinguishable in allopatry but significantly differentiated in sympatry, a pattern consistent with repro‐ ductive character displacement. These results suggest that assortative mating based on a long‐distance signal is an important isolating mechanism between O. torridus and O. arenicola and highlight the importance of behavioral barriers in determining the permeability of species boundaries.

BioAcoustica ID: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith