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Mate Choice in Peruvian Poison Frogs
Kyle Summers1/4/2010 - 12/31/2011
|Sponsoring Organization:||National Geographic Society (NGS)|
|Awarding Organization Is:||Eastern Carolina University|
Kyle Summers (Lead Principal Investigator)
I propose to investigate the ecology and evolution of mate choice in Peruvian poison frogs (Dendrobates imitator). Recent research in my lab has demonstrated that this species shows both social and genetic monogamy. We will test the hypothesis that these frogs have evolved individual recognition in the context of monogamous pair-bonding. We have also demonstrated that this species is a Mullerian mimic (both this species and the model species that it mimics are toxic). Different populations mimic different model species in different geographic regions, and hence have evolved different color patterns. Theory predicts that individuals should prefer to mate with their local color pattern morph relative to a morph from a different population (to avoid producing non-mimetic hybrid offspring). We will test this hypothesis with mate choice tests. Mate choice tests will be done in terraria in Chazuta, San Martin, Peru. For monogamous pairs, one pair member will be presented with a choice of its mate and an unknown frog from the same population. For mimicry tests, a frog from one population will be presented with an opposite sex frog with the local color pattern and one with a geographically distinct pattern (reciprocal tests will be done between populations). Both males and females will be tested. The monogamy experiments may provide the first evidence for individual recognition in the context of mate choice in frogs. The mimicry experiments will allow us to evaluate the importance of sexual selection in maintaining color pattern divergence between populations.