Müllerian mimicry: an examination of Fisher's theory of gradual evolutionary change
2005 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, Vol. 272, 2269-2275 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In 1927, Fisher suggested that Müllerian mimicry evolution could be gradual and driven by predator generalization. A competing possibility is the so-called two-step hypothesis, entailing that Müllerian mimicry evolves through major mutational leaps of a less-protected species towards a better-protected, which sets the stage for coevolutionary fine-tuning of mimicry. At present, this hypothesis seems to be more widely accepted than Fisher’s suggestion. We conducted individual-based simulations of communities with predators and two prey types to assess the possibility of Fisher’s process leading to a common prey appearance. We found that Fisher’s process worked for initially relatively similar appearances. Moreover, by introducing a predator spectrum consisting of several predator types with different ranges of generalization, we found that gradual evolution towards mimicry occurred also for large initial differences in prey appearance. We suggest that Fisher’s process together with a predator spectrum is a realistic alternative to the two-step hypothesis and, furthermore, that it has fewer problems with purifying selection. We also examined factors influencing gradual evolution towards mimicry and found that not only the relative benefits from mimicry but also the mutational schemes of the prey types matter.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 272, 2269-2275 p.
Müllerian mimicry, two-step hypothesis, predator spectrum, advergence, coevolution
Research subject Zoology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-29085DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2005.3227OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-29085DiVA: diva2:229091