Bilateral Song Convergence in a Passerine Hybrid Zone: Genetics Contribute in One Species Only

Jean Secondi, Paul Bordas, Christy A. Hipsley, Staffan Bensch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Hybridization can drive the convergence of territorial and sexual signals. However, non-genetic processes such as competition, environment matching, or cultural transmission, also generate this pattern. We investigated the effect of hybridization on song convergence between two interspecifically territorial warblers in a moving hybrid zone. We confirmed song convergence in each species. Using an AFLP-based genetic index, we detected an effect of genetics on song convergence in Hippolais polyglotta, the expanding species. Evidence was weaker for H. icterina, the receding species. In moving zones, introgression is expected to be larger in the expanding species than in the receding. Thus, the asymmetric contribution of the genetic index to convergence was consistent with expectations for genetically determined traits in moving hybrid zones, and the observed introgression pattern of AFLP markers. However, the geographical location of individuals had an effect on song variation too when genetics was accounted for, suggesting that convergence also has non-genetic explanations. We examine the possible role of alternative processes to that of hybridization and discuss their conflicting effects on reinforcement and hybrid zone dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-452
JournalEvolutionary Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Biological Sciences
  • Ecology

Free keywords

  • Competition
  • Interspecific territoriality
  • Cultural transmission
  • Hybridization
  • Hippolais icterina
  • Hippolais polyglotta


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