Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 66, Issue 10, pp 1429–1436 | Cite as

Reinforcement of male mate preferences in sympatric killifish species Lucania goodei and Lucania parva

  • Olivia Gregorio
  • Emma L. Berdan
  • Genevieve M. Kozak
  • Rebecca C. Fuller
Original Paper


Reinforcement occurs when reduced hybrid fitness leads to the evolution of a stronger prezygotic isolation. Populations sympatric with closely related species, where hybridization occurs, are predicted to have stronger mate preferences than allopatric populations. The reinforcement of male mate preference is thought to be rarer than the reinforcement of female preference, but this inference may be biased by the lack of studies on male preference. We tested male mate preferences from sympatric and allopatric populations of two closely related species of killifish: Lucania goodei and Lucania parva. We found that sympatric males had greater preferences for conspecific females than allopatric males. Furthermore, conspecific preferences in allopatric populations were weakest when these populations were geographically distant (>50 km) from those of heterospecifics. Our data suggest that reinforcement has contributed to male conspecific preference and speciation in Lucania.


Reinforcement Speciation Male mate preference Prezygotic isolation Hybridization 



This work was funded by a National Science Foundation Grant (DEB 0953716) to R. C. Fuller and a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DEB 1110658) to E. L. Berdan and R. C. Fuller. C. Baldeck and A. Johnson assisted with fish collection. Four anonymous reviewers and J. Lindström provided constructive comments on the manuscript.

Ethical standards

All experiments comply with the current laws of the United States and were approved by the University of Illinois Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (Protocol numbers 08183 and 09306).

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olivia Gregorio
    • 1
  • Emma L. Berdan
    • 1
  • Genevieve M. Kozak
    • 1
  • Rebecca C. Fuller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal BiologyUniversity of IllinoisChampaignUSA

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