Linking Sexual Selection and Behavioral Isolation in a Colorful Species of Stream Fish, Etheostoma Barrenense (Abstract Only)

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Elaborate coloration in sexually dichromatic species is often thought to have arisen by sexual selection. Whether diversification of color among closely related species plays a role in behavioral isolation is less well understood. Few empirical examples clearly demonstrate that the sexual signals responsible for behavioral isolation between species are, or have been, subject to sexual selection within species. The present study investigates sexual selection in Etheostoma barrenense, a darter species whose male nuptial coloration is thought to contribute to behavioral isolation from a sympatric congener. Through the use of motorized model fish, we demonstrate that female E. barrenense discriminate between orange and red body hues and exhibit an association preference toward orange model males. This result provides evidence for a link between sexual selection and behavioral isolation, a hypothesis in need of greater empirical support.



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