The inheritance of mating songs in two cryptic, sibling lacewing species (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae: Chrysoperla)

Genetica. 2002 Nov;116(2-3):269-89.


Speciation often involves incremental responses to natural selection and results in large scale genomic changes, but it may also occur abruptly and with little genetic imprint, as seen in some complexes of cryptic species. Recent attention has focused on sexual selection in rapid speciation, because it can disrupt premating signals that mediate reproductive isolation. Some models require that environmental adaptation assist sexual selection during speciation, while others show that populations can diverge through mate choice alone. We propose that speciation involving environmental adaptation in premating signals is likely to have a polygenic basis, while speciation due to arbitrary changes in premating signals could be accompanied by changes at just a few loci. The sibling species Chrysoperla plorabunda and Chrysoperla johnsoni belong to a large complex of cryptic species of green lacewings, and meet all criteria for speciation via sexual selection. We perform a genetic analysis of line crosses between them, focusing on their substrate-borne premating songs. Measurements of seven song features and their principal components are compared among parentals, F1 and F2 hybrids, and backcrosses. The distributions of phenotypes are consistent with a model of more than one, but not many, genes. Sex linkage and/or maternal effects are negligible. C. plorabunda is dominant for most traits affecting mate choice. Bayesian analyses of segregation variance show significant additive and epistatic effects on line means. A Bayesian Castle-Wright estimate suggests that relatively few effective factors are responsible for variation in volley period (x = two factors), number of volleys per song (x = 1), and PC-1 (x = 4). Our results are consistent with simple genetic architecture of songs, supporting a role for major genes in premating isolation and strengthening the notion that mate choice alone, without significant environmental adaptation, has been responsible for generating new lacewing species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Biological Evolution
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Insecta / genetics*
  • Insecta / physiology
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal*