Boughman JW (2002) How sensory drive can promote speciation. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 17: 571-577.


Some of the most spectacular and diverse traits in animals are the signals used

to attract mates. Closely related species often differ dramatically in signaling

traits, in spite of similarity in other morphological traits. The idea that

reproductive isolation arises when male mating signals and female preferences

differ among populations is an old one.However, until recently, there was almost

no information on what generates diversity in mating signals and preferences.

This is beginning to change, with emerging results that highlight the importance

of habitat differences in generating this diversity. Such differences in ecology are

at the root of one hypothesis for divergence in sexual signaling sensory drive.

The sensory drive hypothesis focuses on how communication systems adapt to

local environments and predicts that divergence in communication systems will

occur when environments differ. Reproductive isolation can arise as a byproduct

of this adaptive divergence in behavior.



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