Sexual Selection and Prezygotic Isolating Mechanisms

Ecological isolation:

Ecological isolation is a kind of premating prezygotic barrier in which potential mates do not meet. This is achieved either through temporal isolation of habitat isolation. Individuals of distinct species are active in a different season or at different times of the day (temporal isolation) and they do not mate with each other. The population tends to breed in distinct habitats in the same area (habitat isolation), and so they are spatially segregated from one another.

Gryllusveletis and G.pennsylvanicusare the filed crickets that inhabit eastern North America. Both species are closely related to each other and breed at different seasons (seasonal isolation) of the year. G velet is reach the reproductive age in the spring season. In contrast, G. pennsylvanicus attain the reproductive age in the fall season respectively.

The plant species, Tradescantiasubaspera, and T. canaliculataexhibit sympatric speciation and grow in sunny and deeply shaded areas. The flowering of Tradescantiasubaspera and T. canaliculata occurs at different times of the year and are reproductively segregated.

However, some species exhibit habitat isolation, so potential mates occasionally meet. For example, the Japanese ladybird beetle Henosepilachnanipponicais herbivorous and feeds on thistles. In contrast, the other Japanese herbivorous ladybird beetle Henosepilachnayasutomii feeds on blue cohosh.

Two different stickleback species exhibit reproductive isolation due to their adaptations to different salt concentrations. One species completely survives in the freshwater and the other species survive in the sea during winter and migrate to estuaries during summer and spring for reproduction purposes.

These two factors, seasonal isolation, and habitat isolation impede the potential fertile individuals to mate and reproductively separate the members of different species.

Behavioral isolation:

In simple terms, it refers to a meeting between two potential partners, but they do not mate .It is also called ethological isolation or sexual isolation that is majorly observed in the animal kingdom. It is a crucial barrier to gene flow among sympatric species that are exhibited by songs of males, mating dances, and or mutual grooming of pairs. Even the minor differences in the courtship behavior of the two species impede the mating pattern.

Distinct signals and responses are the recognition system between potential mates. However, the female does not respond to the inappropriate signals.

The male and female of three green lacewings species are morphologically identical and show behavioral isolation. The male sings a low-frequency duet song by vibrating the abdomen. If the female responds to the male by singing back then mating occurs. If not then the mating does not occur.

The females respond often to the different songs produced by the male of their species and would able to differentiate the intermediate songs that are produced by hybrids.

Behavioral Isolation in insects and animals

Chemical mating signals called pheromones to exhibit sexual isolation in many insects and mammals. It is used to recognize the individuals of the same or different sex and the same species. Pheromones are volatile and act as a wide-reaching signal. However, it can be detected only by contact or at a short distance.

The fruit flies Drosophilla melanogaster and D. simulans show morphological similarities. However, matting does not occur between these species though they are together.

Sexual behavior studies revealed that males can mate with females of both whereas, females court with the males of their own by distinguishing the pheromones that are secreted by the individuals of D. melanogaster and D. simulans.

Similarly, sexual isolation in a large number of animals relies on the differences in sex pheromones (chemical mating signals).

Pollinator isolation in plants

Pollinator isolation is a kind of behavioral isolation in different plant species. It is influenced by different colors of the flowers, different forms, and different scents. Pollinating animals or insects respond to it and exhibit behavioral isolation. • Bees are guided to the nectar and pollinate the monkey flower Mimuluslewisii that has yellow hair ridges and pink color flowers with an extensive corolla. In contrast, hummingbirds pollinate the close relative M. cardinalis that has red color flowers with tubular corolla and narrow hair ridges. • Pollinator isolation also depends on the pollen places on the pollinator body of some plant species. For example, the pollen mass of Swedish orchid Platantherabifolia sticks to the proboscis of the moth whereas, the pollen mass of Platantherachlorantha sticks to the eyes of the moth. Different moth species are attracted by the distinctive form of flowers and scent in the orchids.

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