Rapid evolution and sexual signals

Marlene Zuk, Robin M. Tinghitella

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


Surprisingly few examples of rapid evolutionary change in behavioral traits have been documented in nature, yet circumstances favoring rapid evolution in other traits apply equally well to behaviour, including animal signals. This chapter considers the role of signals in rapid evolution and the way behavior influences evolutionary change. Because communication involves interactions between individuals, changes in signal structure or production must be accompanied by change in the receiver, which means that behaviour itself can constrain evolution. Alternatively, behaviour may facilitate contemporary evolution. The chapter reviews the literature as well as work presented in this chapter with a field cricket in which pre-existing behavioural plasticity apparently facilitated spread of a mutation that silences males, simultaneously eliminating their sexual signal and protecting them from a parasitoid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSociobiology of Communication
Subtitle of host publicationAn Interdisciplinary Perspective
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191712043
ISBN (Print)9780199216840
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008


  • Behavioural flexibility
  • Contemporary evolution
  • Field cricket
  • Parasitoid


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