37.6 Thursday, Jan. 5 Sexual selection in the mimic poison frog Ranitomeya imitator TWOMEY, Evan*; SUMMERS, Kyle; East Carolina University; East Carolina University email@example.com
Understanding mechanisms that promote population divergence has been a central topic in evolutionary research and is key to our understanding of speciation and global biodiversity. In several examples of Müllerian mimicry, where two or more toxic species resemble each other, a single species is known to resemble more than one model species. This situation would seem to provide a good scenario for speciation: as populations diverge to resemble different models, both pre-mating and post-mating isolation could evolve. Ranitomeya imitator is a species of poison frog from central Peru which is involved in Müllerian mimicry with 4 other species of poison frogs. There are four primary mimetic morphs of R. imitator, each of which occurs in different geographical regions. We conducted mate choice experiments on four populations (representing two morphs) to determine whether frogs preferred to mate with their own morph. Furthermore, we designed the study in such a way as to test for reproductive character displacement, that is, whether strength of mate preference (if any) was increased in areas where these two morphs are sympatric. With the exception of one population, we were unable to detect significant mate preferences in R. imitator. Furthermore, there was no evidence that the strength of preference was enhanced where these morphs were sympatric. Current research is focused on testing mating preferences on additional color morphs, and using alternative methods for measuring mating preferences.