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Sexual behaviour

Rapid speciation in an arthropod

The likely force behind an explosion of new Hawaiian cricket species is revealed.


Theory predicts that sexual behaviour in animals can evolve rapidly, accelerating the rate of species formation1,2. Here we estimate the rate of speciation in Laupala, a group of forest-dwelling Hawaiian crickets that is characterized primarily through differences in male courtship song3. We find that Laupala has the highest rate of speciation so far recorded in arthropods, supporting the idea that divergence in courtship or sexual behaviour drives rapid speciation in animals.

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Figure 1: Phylogeny estimate based on analysis of amplified fragment-length polymorphisms for 25 of 38 described species of Laupala cricket.


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Correspondence to Tamra C. Mendelson.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Methods

Phylogeny estimation. (DOC 63 kb)

Supplementary Table

Rates of speciation (SRln) for Laupala, estimated at three stages of diversification. (DOC 24 kb)

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Mendelson, T., Shaw, K. Rapid speciation in an arthropod. Nature 433, 375–376 (2005).

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