Genetic correlations between life-history and behavioral traits can cause reproductive isolation

Takahisa Miyatake, Toru Shimizu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Reproductive isolation may often evolve as an indirect (pleiotropic) consequence of populations adapting to different environments or habitats. For example, niches that are temporally or seasonally offset can select for organisms with different developmental characteristics. These developmental differences can inadvertently cause reproductive isolation by a variety of means including shifts in mating activity patterns. Here, we show a genetic correlation between a life-history trait (developmental period) and a behavioral trait (time of mating) that causes significant premating isolation in the melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae (Diptera: Tephritidae). Fly lines selected for short and long developmental periods differ in their preferred times of mating during the evening. This difference translates into significant prezygotic isolation, as measured by mate choice tests. If the time of mating between two populations differed more than one hour, the isolation index was significantly higher than zero. These indicate that premating isolation can be established if the developmental period is divergently selected for. If such genetic correlations are ubiquitous in many organisms, multifarious divergent selection for life-history traits would often accelerate the evolution of reproductive isolation. We speculate that reproductive isolation may have been evolved via genetic correlations among time-related traits, for example, developmental period and time of mating, as in other organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-208
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Bactrocera cucurbitae
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Genetic correlation
  • Mating behavior
  • Reproductive isolation
  • Speciation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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