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|Title:||Accelerated speciation in colour-polymorphic birds|
|Citation:||Nature, 2012; 485(7400):631-634|
|Publisher:||Nature Publishing Group|
|Andrew F. Hugall & Devi Stuart-Fox|
|Abstract:||Colour polymorphism exemplifies extreme morphological diversity within populations. It is taxonomically widespread but generally rare. Theory suggests that where colour polymorphism does occur, processes generating and maintaining it can promote speciation but the generality of this claim is unclear. Here we confirm, using species-level molecular phylogenies for five families of non-passerine birds, that colour polymorphism is associated with accelerated speciation rates in the three groups in which polymorphism is most prevalent. In all five groups, colour polymorphism is lost at a significantly greater rate than it is gained. Thus, the general rarity and phylogenetic dispersion of colour polymorphism is accounted for by a combination of higher speciation rate and higher transition rate from polymorphism to monomorphism, consistent with theoretical models where speciation is driven by fixation of one or more morphs. This is corroborated by evidence from a species-level molecular phylogeny of passerines, incorporating 4,128 (66.5%) extant species, that polymorphic species tend to be younger than monomorphic species. Our results provide empirical support for the general proposition, dating from classical evolutionary theory, that colour polymorphism can increase speciation rates.|
|Rights:||© 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.|
|Appears in Collections:||Ecology, Evolution and Landscape Science publications|
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