Coevolution

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Many species learn through social transmission, which can alter co-evolutionary selection pressures. Experiments involving artificial prey and social networks show that wild birds can learn about unpalatable food by watching others, which helps explain the persistence of costly prey defences despite influxes of naïve juvenile predators.

    • Liisa Hämäläinen
    • , William Hoppitt
    •  & Rose Thorogood
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The parasite causing toxoplasmosis can manipulate prey to behave in ways that promote transmission to the parasite’s definitive feline hosts. The first study consistent with this extended phenotype in the wild finds that infected hyena cubs approach lions more closely than uninfected peers and have higher rates of lion mortality.

    • Eben Gering
    • , Zachary M. Laubach
    •  & Thomas Getty
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Many obligate symbionts, including parasites, have reduced genomes. A comparison of leaf-cutter ant genomes reveals parallel gene losses, particularly in olfactory receptors, in socially parasitic species compared to their closely-related hosts, consistent with relaxed selection for cooperative colony life in the parasites.

    • Lukas Schrader
    • , Hailin Pan
    •  & Christian Rabeling
  • Article
    | Open Access

    While there is strong evidence that many mutualisms evolved from antagonism, how or why remains unclear. A study combining theory and a data-based model sheds light on how mutualisms evolve without extremely tight host fidelity and how ecological context affects evolutionary outcomes and vice-versa.

    • Christopher A. Johnson
    • , Gordon P. Smith
    •  & Régis Ferrière
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The herbivorous horseradish flea beetle sequesters plant toxins to defend against predators. Here the authors identify glucosinolate transporters expressed in the beetle Malpighian tubules and provide evidence that these reabsorb glucosinolates from the tubule lumen to prevent their loss by excretion.

    • Zhi-Ling Yang
    • , Hussam Hassan Nour-Eldin
    •  & Franziska Beran
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Parasitoids exploit host bodies for reproduction, selecting for host defences. A new host defence is reported, in which adult Drosophila accelerate mating behaviour at the sight of certain parasitoid wasps, mediated by the upregulation of a nervous system gene that encodes a 41-amino acid micropeptide.

    • Shimaa A. M. Ebrahim
    • , Gaëlle J. S. Talross
    •  & John R. Carlson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Nearly 17% of all bird species are hosts to obligate brood parasites like the common cuckoo. Antonson et al. show that parasite species hedge their reproductive bets by outsourcing parental care to a greater variety of host species when the rearing environment for their young is more unpredictable.

    • Nicholas D. Antonson
    • , Dustin R. Rubenstein
    •  & Carlos A. Botero
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Cooperative relationships are widespread among different classes of biopolymers and are predicted to have existed during emergence of life. This study shows that proto-peptides engage in mutually stabilizing interactions with RNA, providing support for the co-evolution of these molecules.

    • Moran Frenkel-Pinter
    • , Jay W. Haynes
    •  & Luke J. Leman
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Both geography and ecology can drive the origins of new species. Siqueira et al. show how geological changes in the structure of Miocene reefs and the concurrent evolution of new feeding strategies combine to explain why coral reefs contain such a diversity of fish species.

    • Alexandre C. Siqueira
    • , Renato A. Morais
    •  & Peter F. Cowman
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Complex macroscopic organisms are first found in the Ediacaran period, but their ecology during this time is not well understood. Here, Bobrovskiy et al. analyse biomarkers from Ediacaran sediments hosting macrofossils and find evidence for abundant algal food sources available for these organisms.

    • Ilya Bobrovskiy
    • , Janet M. Hope
    •  & Jochen J. Brocks
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Bilaterian mitochondria-encoded tRNA genes accumulate mutations at higher rates than their cytoplasmic tRNA counterparts, resulting in idiosyncratic structures. Here the authors suggest an evolutionary basis for the observed mutational freedom of mitochondrial (mt) tRNAs and reveal the associated co-adaptive structural and functional changes in mt aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases.

    • Bernhard Kuhle
    • , Joseph Chihade
    •  & Paul Schimmel
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The relationship between the coral animal and symbiotic algae is essential to coral health, and researchers are turning to Exaiptasia, a model cnidarian system, to study this relationship mechanistically. Here the authors find that endosymbiotic algae become limited by nitrogen at high population densities and provide the host with high levels of fixed carbon.

    • Tingting Xiang
    • , Erik Lehnert
    •  & Arthur R. Grossman
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Models of mate choice have mainly focused on the implications of female mate choice for reproductive isolation. Here, Aubier et al. develop a population genetic model of coevolution between female and male mate choice, which can lead the population to oscillate between assortative and random mating.

    • Thomas G. Aubier
    • , Hanna Kokko
    •  & Mathieu Joron
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Predator-prey coevolution is expected to hasten evolutionary rates, but this is difficult to test in long-lived species. Here, the authors report consequences of experimental coevolution between bacterial predators and prey, including accelerated molecular evolution and parallel genomic and phenotypic adaptation.

    • Ramith R. Nair
    • , Marie Vasse
    •  & Gregory J. Velicer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Staphylococcus aureus pathogenicity islands (SaPIs) encode the master repressor Stl and after bacteriophage infection Stl interacts with specific phage proteins leading to a derepression of SaPIs. Here the authors provide structural insights into this family of repressors by determining the crystal structures of SaPIbov1 Stl alone and in complex with two structurally unrelated phage dUTPases.

    • J. Rafael Ciges-Tomas
    • , Christian Alite
    •  & Alberto Marina
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Sensory drive theory predicts that vocal signalling coevolves with auditory sensitivity, but empirical evidence is limited. Here, Charlton et al. show that vocal characteristics and hearing have coevolved in forest mammals, due to constraints imposed by the local signalling environment.

    • Benjamin D. Charlton
    • , Megan A. Owen
    •  & Ronald R. Swaisgood
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    The reciprocal interaction between genetic and cultural evolution is well recognised in humans. Here, Whitehead and colleagues review the growing body of evidence that culture is also a major driver of both neutral and adaptive genetic evolution in non-human animals.

    • Hal Whitehead
    • , Kevin N. Laland
    •  & Andrew Whiten
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Host phylogeny and diet are major explanatory factors of animal gut microbiome diversity, but our understanding of these associations is limited by a focus on captive animals and a narrow taxonomic scope. Here, the authors isolate evolutionary and ecological drivers of gut microbiomes from wild mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.

    • Nicholas D. Youngblut
    • , Georg H. Reischer
    •  & Andreas H. Farnleitner
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Plants and fungi interact widely and in diverse ways, from mutualism to parasitism and decomposition. Here, Lutzoni et al. analyse the timing of plant and fungal evolutionary radiations and identify four major periods in which plant-fungal interactions likely drove lineage diversification.

    • François Lutzoni
    • , Michael D. Nowak
    •  & Susana Magallón
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Herbivorous insects could diversify through radiations after major host switches or through constant variability in new host use. With phylogenetic and network analyses, Braga et al. show that variability in host use supports most butterfly diversification, while rare radiations can further boost diversity.

    • Mariana P. Braga
    • , Paulo R. Guimarães Jr
    •  & Niklas Janz
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Associations between corals and symbiotic microorganisms could be driven by the environment or shared evolutionary history. Here, the authors examine relationships between coral phylogenies and associated microbiomes, finding evidence of phylosymbiosis in microbes from coral skeleton and tissue, but not mucus.

    • F. Joseph Pollock
    • , Ryan McMinds
    •  & Jesse R. Zaneveld
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The evolution of cooperation depends on social structure, which may evolve in response. Here, Akçay models coevolution between cooperation and social network formation strategies, showing that coevolutionary feedbacks lead cooperation to collapse unless constrained by costs of social connections.

    • Erol Akçay
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Host-parasite coevolution can lead to arms races favouring novel immunogenetic alleles or the maintenance of diversity in a balanced polymorphism. Here, Lighten et al. combine data on MHC diversity across three guppy species and simulations to show that polymorphisms of immunogenetic supertypes may persist even as alleles within supertypes are involved in an arms race.

    • Jackie Lighten
    • , Alexander S. T. Papadopulos
    •  & Cock van Oosterhout
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Arms races between phage and bacteria are well known from lab experiments, but insight from field systems is limited. Here, the authors show changes in the resistance and CRISPR loci of bacteria and the infectivity, host range and genome size of phage over multiple years in an aquaculture environment.

    • Elina Laanto
    • , Ville Hoikkala
    •  & Lotta-Riina Sundberg
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Hosts vary in how dependent they are on their beneficial symbionts. Here, Fisher and colleagues analyse the results of symbiont-removal experiments from 106 symbioses in a phylogenetic context and show that host dependence is associated with symbiont transmission mode, function, and genome size.

    • Roberta M. Fisher
    • , Lee M. Henry
    •  & Stuart A. West
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Attine ants, including the leaf-cutting ants, cultivate fungi as their sole source of food. Here, Nygaard et al. use whole genome and transcriptome sequences from seven ant species and their fungal cultivars to reconstruct the reciprocal genetic changes underlying the evolution of the ant-fungus mutualism.

    • Sanne Nygaard
    • , Haofu Hu
    •  & Jacobus J. Boomsma
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Killer whales have evolved into specialized ecotypes based on hunting strategies and ecological niches. Here, Andrew Foote and colleagues sequenced the whole genome of individual killer whales representing 5 different ecotypes from North Pacific and Antarctic, and show expansion of small founder groups to adapt to specific ecological niches.

    • Andrew D. Foote
    • , Nagarjun Vijay
    •  & Jochen B.W. Wolf
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Foraging is energetically demanding for animals like hawkmoths that feed while flying. Here, Haverkamp et al. show that Manduca sexta has an innate preference for feeding on species of Nicotianawhose flower corolla length best matches the length of their proboscis, which allowed more efficient foraging and yielded the highest caloric gain.

    • Alexander Haverkamp
    • , Julia Bing
    •  & Markus Knaden
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Nitrogen fixation in oceans is facilitated by associations between marine phytoplankton and cyanobacteria such as UCYN-A. Here, Cornejo-Castillo et al. show that UCYN-A diversified in the late Cretaceous under strong purifying selection to become lineage-specific symbiont partners with different prymnesiophytes.

    • Francisco M. Cornejo-Castillo
    • , Ana M. Cabello
    •  & Silvia G. Acinas
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Mutualistic interactions involve trading benefits between cooperative species. Here, the authors show that restricting the resource acquisition of a mutualistic partner can increase mutualism by promoting resource trade, which suggests that conflict may lead to increased cooperation.

    • Gregory A. K. Wyatt
    • , E. Toby Kiers
    •  & Stuart A. West
  • Article |

    Oldowan stone tool-making might have influenced the evolution of human language and teaching. Here the authors show that transmission of Oldowan tool-making skills improves with teaching and language, suggesting that hominin reliance on stone tool-making generated selection for teaching and language.

    • T. J. H. Morgan
    • , N. T. Uomini
    •  & K. N. Laland
  • Article |

    The role of predator evolution in eco-evolutionary dynamics has received less attention than that of prey. Here, Hiltunen and Becks show that prey anti-predator traits evolve faster and are more variable in the presence of co-evolved predators, resulting in altered community dynamics.

    • Teppo Hiltunen
    •  & Lutz Becks
  • Article |

    Insertion sequences are transposable elements that are found in the genomes of many bacteria. Here, the authors identify an enhancer element that results in a high frequency of excision of insertion elements, and suggest that the excision enhancer element coevolved with the insertion sequences.

    • Masahiro Kusumoto
    • , Tadasuke Ooka
    •  & Tetsuya Hayashi
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Female water striders have evolved a strategy to control the frequency of copulation. In this article, male water striders are shown to attract predators during copulation to coerce the female into yielding more quickly. These findings demonstrate how adaptive behaviour may be influenced by predation.

    • Chang S. Han
    •  & Piotr G. Jablonski