Maternal effects and the evolution of aposematic signals

  • Brodie III E
  • Agrawal A
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Abstract

Aposematic signals that warn predators of the noxious qualities of prey gain their greatest selective advantage when predators have already experienced similar signals. Existing theory explains how such signals can spread through selective advantage after they are present at some critical frequency, but is unclear about how warning signals can be selectively advantageous when the trait is initially rare (i.e., when it first arises through mutation) and predators are naive. When aposematism is controlled by a maternal effect gene, the difficulty of initial rarity may be overcome. Unlike a zygotically expressed gene, a maternally expressed aposematism gene will be hidden from selection because it is not phenotypically expressed in the first individual with the mutation. Furthermore, the first individual carrying the new mutation will produce an entire family of aposematic offspring, thereby providing an immediate fitness advantage to this gene

Author-supplied keywords

  • Animals
  • Aposematism
  • Biological Evolution
  • Biology
  • DA
  • Evolution
  • FAMILY
  • Fitness
  • Frequency
  • Maternal Behavior
  • Maternal effects
  • Models,Theoretical
  • Mutation
  • Predator
  • Predators
  • Predatory Behavior
  • Prey
  • Research
  • Selection
  • Signals
  • aposematic
  • gene
  • warning signal
  • warning signals

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Authors

  • E D Brodie III

  • A F Agrawal

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