Tuesday, February 15, 2005

83: Cricket's Finicky Mating Behavior Boosts Biodiversity

Cricket's Finicky Mating Behavior Boosts Biodiversity:

The thumbnail-sized Laupala spawns new species at the rate of 4.17 every 1 million years, or more than 10 times faster than the average speciation rate for invertebrates. This rapid evolution is contributing to an "explosion" of new cricket species, especially on Hawaii, the largest and youngest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, say the two scientists. Some 38 different species of the cricket now inhabit the island chain.

Among all animals, say Mendelson and Shaw, only the African cichlid fish spawns new species more quickly.
Thanks to Red State Rabble for the tip. This relies on phylogenies, evolutionary hypotheses about common descent of species. It demonstrates not only macroevolutionary processes in the past, but a mechanism for sympatric speciation. It generates testable evolutionary hypotheses.