Most models of the evolution of aposematic signaling assume (1) that the secondary defense being signaled is fixed, and (2) that conspicuous mutants arising in a population of defended individuals of cryptic appearance are initially protected from predation. Previous models of ours relaxed the first assumption, here we relax the second and compare with our earlier work to explore the consequences of initial protection from predation on the coevolution of secondary defense and aposematic signaling. As expected, we find that aposematic signaling evolves more easily if initial protection is available. Less obviously, the coevolved level of secondary defense should also be higher if initial protection is provided. Across species or populations, we predict that when initial protection occurs, then strength of aposematic signal should be correlated with the strength of the underlying secondary defense, whereas no such correlation should occur without initial protection. Finally, we demonstrate that species can invest heavily in a secondary defense and remain maximally cryptic (forgoing the advantages of aposematic signaling) and that within a species we should expect strong variation in appearance between populations but much less variation within populations. Hence, we demonstrate that whether conspicuous morphs receive initial protection from predation has powerful and potentially empirically detectible consequences for the coevolution of secondary defenses and aposematic signaling.
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Vol. 61 • No. 9