We employ a simple model to show that social selection can lead to prezygotic reproductive isolation. The evolution of social discrimination causes the congealing of phenotypically similar individuals into different, spatially distinct tribes. However, tribal formation is only obtained for certain types of social behavior: altruistic and selfish acts can produce tribes, whereas spiteful and mutualistic behaviors never do. Moreover, reduced hybrid fitness at tribal borders leads to the selection of mating preferences, which then spread to the core areas of the respective tribes. Unlike models of resource competition, our model generates reproductive isolation in an ecologically homogeneous environment. We elaborate on how altruistic acts can lead to reproductive isolation, but also predict that certain types of competition can lead to the speciation effect. Our theory provides a framework for how individual-level interactions mold lineage diversification, with parapatric speciation as a possible end product.
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Vol. 57 • No. 1