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1 April 2008 Speciational Evolution of Coloration in the Genus Carduelis
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Abstract

Sexual selection has been hypothesized to promote speciation, but evidence relating sexual selection to differences in speciation rates among taxa is equivocal. We note that evolutionary changes in ornaments are the link connecting sexual selection to speciation, and that ornament evolution is influenced by many factors so that its relationship with the strength of sexual selection may not be linear. We test if the evolution of ornamental coloration in Carduelis finches is related with speciation and if more ornamented lineages speciate more. We found that coloration evolves with a speciational pattern, but we found no evidence that the evolutionary changes associated with speciation are predominantly gains in ornamentation. The speciational pattern was found for both carotenoid- and melanin-based coloration, suggesting that traits putatively under stronger sexual selection by female choice (carotenoid coloration) are not the sole ones facilitating reproductive isolation. We conclude that in the genus Carduelis the evolutionary lability of ornaments influences speciation more than the strength of sexual selection, and we suggest that ornament lability should be considered as a possible causal factor in studies comparing cladogenesis among taxa.

Gonçalo C. Cardoso and Paulo Gama Mota "Speciational Evolution of Coloration in the Genus Carduelis," Evolution 62(4), 753-762, (1 April 2008). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1558-5646.2008.00337.x
Received: 14 August 2007; Accepted: 15 January 2008; Published: 1 April 2008
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