Chemically mediated sexual signals restrict hybrid speciation in a flea beetle

Huai Jun Xue, Kari A. Segraves, Jing Wei, Bin Zhang, Rui E. Nie, Wen Zhu Li, Xing Ke Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The evolution of reproductive isolation following hybridization is a major obstacle that may limit the prevalence of hybrid speciation among specific groups of organisms. Here, we use a flea beetle system to offer a behavioral hypothesis for why there are so few examples of homoploid hybrid speciation among insects. Specifically, we examined cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) mating signals and mate-choice decisions of Altica fragariae and A. viridicyanea to test whether the signals produced by hybrids cause prezygotic reproductive isolation. Although hybrids of A. fragariae and A. viridicyanea had unique CHC profiles as compared to the parental species, mate-choice trials indicated that these differences were insufficient to prevent gene flow between hybrids and parental species. We found that mate-choice decisions and CHC signals were not correlated. Considering the ubiquity of CHC signaling molecules in insects, we propose that decoupling of CHC signals and mate choice may be a general mechanism limiting hybrid speciation in insects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1462-1471
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2018


  • Altica
  • Cuticular hydrocarbon
  • Hybrid speciation
  • Interspecific hybridization
  • Mate choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Chemically mediated sexual signals restrict hybrid speciation in a flea beetle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this