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Evolution. 2002 Nov;56(11):2296-312.

A fine-scale spatial analysis of the mosaic hybrid zone between Gryllus firmus and Gryllus pennsylvanicus.

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Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


The pattern of character variation within a hybrid zone, the hybrid zone structure, has been used to infer the processes that maintain hybrid zones. Unfortunately it is difficult to infer process from structure alone because many different processes can produce the same pattern of character variation. Mosaic hybrid zones may be maintained by exogenous selection in a heterogeneous environment and/or endogenous selection against hybrid individuals; habitat preference, premating isolating barriers and/or fertility selection can also contribute. The spatial scale at which a hybrid zone is sampled affects its apparent structure; a hybrid zone may appear clinal at one scale and mosaic at another. Here, we sample the mosaic hybrid zone between two field crickets, Gryllus firmus and G. pennsylvanicus, at a scale that spans the boundaries between individual soil-habitat patches. From our analysis, we find that at fine scales, the mosaic hybrid zone resolves into a set of steep clines across patch boundaries. Both morphological and molecular traits exhibit sharp and generally concordant clines. However, clines for mitochondrial DNA and one anonymous nuclear marker are clearly displaced as a result of current hybridization or past introgression (the "ghost of hybridization past"). Thus, scale is important for the structure of this and probably other hybrid zones. The extremely sharp, concordant clines across patch boundaries indicate that the cricket hybrid zone is undoubtedly structured by selection. However, the detailed mechanisms responsible for the maintenance of the hybrid zone--whether endogenous selection against hybrids, exogenous selection by the environment, and/or behavioral preferences for mates or habitats--remain to be elucidated. Determining these mechanisms will depend on closer inspection of the organisms themselves and their interactions, as is the case for all hybrid zones.

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