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Evolution. 2000 Aug;54(4):1313-25.

Reproductive character displacement and speciation in periodical cicadas, with description of new species, 13-year Magicicada neotredecem.

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  • 1Department of Biology and Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-1079, USA.


Acoustic mate-attracting signals of related sympatric, synchronic species are always distinguishable, but those of related allopatric species sometimes are not, thus suggesting that such signals may evolve to "reinforce" premating species isolation when similar species become sympatric. This hypothesis predicts divergences restricted to regions of sympatry in partially overlapping species, but such "reproductive character displacement" has rarely been confirmed. We report such a case in the acoustic signals of a previously unrecognized 13-year periodical cicada species, Magicicada neotredecim, described here as a new species (see Appendix). Where M. neotredecim overlaps M. tredecim in the central United States, the dominant male call pitch (frequency) of M. neotredecim increases from approximately 1.4 kHz to 1.7 kHz, whereas that of M. tredecim remains comparatively stable. The average preferences of female M. neotredecim for call pitch show a similar geographic pattern, changing with the call pitch of conspecific males. Magicicada neotredecim differs from 13-year M. tredecim in abdomen coloration, mitochondrial DNA, and call pitch, but is not consistently distinguishable from 17-year M. septendecim; thus, like other Magicicada species, M. neotredecim appears most closely related to a geographically adjacent counterpart with the alternative life cycle. Speciation in Magicicada may be facilitated by life-cycle changes that create temporal isolation, and reinforcement could play a role by fostering divergence in premating signals prior to speciation. We present two theories of Magicicada speciation by life-cycle evolution: "nurse-brood facilitation" and "life-cycle canalization."

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