© 2014 The Linnean Society of London. A central question in evolutionary biology concerns the accumulation of reproductive barriers during speciation. However, separating the reproductive barriers that have led to speciation from those that have secondarily accumulated (i.e. after initial divergence) is a widely recognized problem. Ideal candidate species for overcoming this problem are young species, where time for additional barriers to accrue has been limited. In the present study, we add to previous studies investigating the strength of reproductive barriers between the parapatric damselflies Ischnura elegans and Ischnura graellsii by quantifying seven prezygotic barriers between the allopatric pairs of I. elegans and Ischnura genei, as well as I. graellsii and I. genei. Specifically, we measured four premating (temporal, sexual, mechanical I, and mechanical II) and three postmating (oviposition success, fecundity, and fertility) barriers using experimental approaches and, for first time, we investigated the mechanisms causing mechanical isolation, which is the strongest reproductive barrier in ischnurans. The findings of the present study support the notion that premating barriers are generally strong and contribute significantly to total reproductive isolation in young lineages (65-98%), although they never solely lead to complete isolation. Asymmetry was generally stronger in premating than in postmating barriers, and was driven mostly through asymmetry in mechanical isolation, which is caused by morphological divergence of secondary sexual appendages. We found that barriers act multiplicatively in all species combinations tested, with the exception of sexual isolation, which was not detected. Our results are consistent with a recent allopatric speciation scenario driven by differences in male anal appendages, either impeding copulation or affecting female preferences. Taken together, the results from this and previous studies in diverse odonate genera suggest that premating barriers have evolved rapidly in ischnuran damselflies and, although reproductive isolation in ischnurans is more commonly the result of several barriers acting together, morphological divergence of secondary sexual appendages appears to be a common factor facilitating premating isolation in this group.
|Journal||Biological Journal of the Linnean Society|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2014|
- Asymmetric reproductive isolation
- Prezygotic isolation