Journal of Evolutionary Biology
acoustic adaptation, cultural drift, female song, genetic drift, geographic variation
Given the important role that animal vocalizations play in mate attraction and resource defence, acoustic signals are expected to play a significant role in speciation. Most studies, however, have focused on the acoustic traits of male animals living in the temperate zone. In contrast to temperate environments, in the tropics, it is commonplace for both sexes to produce complex acoustic signals. Therefore, tropical birds offer the opportunity to compare the sexes and provide a more comprehensive understanding of the evolution of animal signals. In this study, we quantified patterns of acoustic variation in Rufous-and-white Wrens (Thryophilus rufalbus) from five populations in Central America. We quantified similarities and differences between male and female songs by comparing the role that acoustic adaptation, cultural isolation and neutral genetic divergence have played in shaping acoustic divergence. We found that males and females showed considerable acoustic variation across populations, although females exhibited greater population divergence than males. Redundancy analysis and partial-redundancy analysis revealed significant relationships between acoustic variation and ecological variables, genetic distance, and geographic distance. Both ambient background noise and geographic distance explained a high proportion of variance for both males and females, suggesting that both acoustic adaptation and cultural isolation influence song. Overall, our results indicate that parallel evolutionary forces act on male and female acoustic signals and highlight the important role that cultural drift and selection play in the evolution of both male and female songs.
Graham, Brendan A.; Heath, Daniel D.; Walter, Ryan P.; Marks, Melissa M.; and Mennill, Daniel J.. (2018). Parallel evolutionary forces influence the evolution of male and female songs in a tropical songbird. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 31 (7), 979-994.
Available for download on Sunday, January 01, 2119