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Feature theory and the two-step hypothesis of Müllerian mimicry evolution
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8708-8097
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3445-3759
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6319-009X
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2010 (English)In: Evolution, ISSN 0014-3820, E-ISSN 1558-5646, Vol. 64, no 3, 810-822 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The two-step hypothesis of Müllerian mimicry evolution states that mimicry starts with a major mutational leap between adaptive peaks, followed by gradual fine-tuning. The hypothesis was suggested to solve the problem of apostatic selection producing a valley between adaptive peaks, and appears reasonable for a one-dimensional phenotype. Extending the hypothesis to the realistic scenario of multidimensional phenotypes controlled by multiple genetic loci can be problematic, because it is unlikely that major mutational leaps occur simultaneously in several traits. Here we consider the implications of predator psychology on the evolutionary process. According to feature theory, single prey traits may be used by predators as features to classify prey into discrete categories. A mutational leap in such a trait could initiate mimicry evolution. We conducted individual-based evolutionary simulations in which virtual predators both categorize prey according to features and generalize over total appearances. We found that an initial mutational leap towards feature similarity in one dimension facilitates mimicry evolution of multidimensional traits. We suggest that feature-based predator categorization together with predator generalization over total appearances solves the problem of applying the two-step hypothesis to complex phenotypes, and provides a basis for a theory of the evolution of mimicry rings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 64, no 3, 810-822 p.
Keyword [en]
Mimicry rings, categorization, generalization, predator psychology
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-29062DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2009.00852.xISI: 000274713800015OAI: diva2:229022
Available from: 2009-08-10 Created: 2009-08-10 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Predator psychology and mimicry evolution - a theoretical analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Predator psychology and mimicry evolution - a theoretical analysis
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The evolution of Müllerian mimicry depends on many factors, among which predator psychology is the most important one. Predator avoidance learning, generalization and discrimination are primary selective agents during the evolutionary process. This thesis investigates an issue that has been a matter of debate since the 19th century; the question of how a mutant of a potential mimic population can escape the apostatic selection caused by predators that neither recognize it as a member of its own population, nor as being similar to its future model. In paper I, we investigate one of the ideas concerning this issue. Fisher stated that mimicry can evolve gradually by the displacement of an adaptive peak in a fitness landscape. We find this to be a plausible scenario, under certain conditions regarding predator generalization. In paper II, we further investigate the gradual evolutionary process and the implications of different generalization gradients. We find that the gradual process might be even more general than has previously been assumed and that abundant genetic variation in prey populations is an important factor in combination with predator generalization. In paper III, we examine another suggested solution to the problem of apostatic selection, the so-called two-step process, which can be problematic to extend to multiple prey traits. We find that the two-step process works for multidimensional traits provided that predators use feature-based generalization. The selective landscape of mimicry evolution is also shaped by the cost-benefit relationships for models and mimics. In paper IV we explore this matter, by applying the Rescorla-Wagner theory of learning to mimicry. We find that if variation in prey unpalatability gives rise to surprise, the learning rate is increased. This leads to unexpected kinds of mimicry that are more mutualistic than Müllerian mimicry has previously been assumed to be.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2009. 34 p.
Müllerian mimicry, two-step evolution, gradual evolution, mutualism, predator psychology
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-29056 (URN)978-91-7155-903-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-09-25, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 C, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Accepted. Available from: 2009-09-03 Created: 2009-08-10 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved

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Balogh, Alexandra C.V.Gamberale-Stille, GabriellaTullberg, Birgitta S.Leimar, Olof
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