Phenotypic and Genetic Divergence among Poison Frog Populations in a Mimetic Radiation

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jason Lee Brown (Creator)
Molly Cummings (Creator)
Victor Morales (Creator)
Kyle Summers (Creator)
Evan Twomey (Creator)
Justin Yeager (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: The evolution of Müllerian mimicry is, paradoxically, associated with high levels of diversity in color and pattern. In a mimetic radiation, different populations of a species evolve to resemble different models, which can lead to speciation. Yet there are circumstances under which initial selection for divergence under mimicry may be reversed. Here we provide evidence for the evolution of extensive phenotypic divergence in a mimetic radiation in Ranitomeya imitator, the mimic poison frog, in Peru. Analyses of color hue (spectral reflectance) and pattern reveal substantial divergence between morphs. However, we also report that there is a “transition-zone” with mixed phenotypes. Analyses of genetic structure using microsatellite variation reveals some differentiation between populations, but this does not strictly correspond to color pattern divergence. Analyses of gene flow between populations suggest that, while historical levels of gene flow were low, recent levels are high in some cases, including substantial gene flow between some color pattern morphs. We discuss possible explanations for these observations.

Additional Information

PLoS ONE; 8:2 p. 1-10
Language: English
Date: 2013
Frogs, Speciation, Population density, Phenotypes, Population genetics

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