Send to

Choose Destination
Am Nat. 2007 Feb;169(2):151-62. Epub 2007 Jan 2.

Divergent host plant adaptation and reproductive isolation between ecotypes of Timema cristinae walking sticks.

Author information

Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada.


Theoretical and empirical studies have demonstrated that divergent natural selection can promote the evolution of reproductive isolation. Three unresolved questions concern the types of reproductive barriers involved, the role of geography, and the factors determining the extent of progress toward complete speciation. Here I synthesize studies of Timema cristinae host plant ecotypes to address these issues. The approach is to compare the magnitude of multiple reproductive barriers among different ecological and geographic scenarios, where pairs of populations within each scenario are the unit of replication. Application of this approach to T. cristinae revealed that divergent host adaptation can promote the evolution of diverse reproductive barriers, including those that are not inherently ecological. Gene flow in parapatry tended to constrain divergence, with the notable exception of the reinforcement of sexual isolation. Thus, geography affected progress toward speciation but did not influence all reproductive barriers in the same way. Studies of any single pair of taxa often capture only certain stages of the speciation process. For example, reproductive isolation between T. cristinae ecotypes is incomplete, and so only the stages before the completion of speciation have been examined. Studies of more divergent taxa within the genus are required to determine the factors that complete speciation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for University of Chicago Press
Loading ...
Support Center