Sage grouse, Centrocercus urophasianus, in an isolated montane basin near Gunnison, Colorado differ in several morphological and behavioural traits from conspecifics studied in other areas of the species' range. Both sexes in Gunnison are smaller than sage grouse elsewhere, and males possess differences in feather morphology as well. The mating behaviour of male sage grouse in three populations was examined to determine whether male strut displays of Gunnison sage grouse were behaviourally distinct. Behavioural analyses revealed Gunnison males perform strut displays at a slower rate than males in the two other sage grouse populations sampled. In addition, Gunnison males' strut displays contain unique visual and acoustical aspects. The most distinguishing attributes of Gunnison sage grouse were male secondary sexual characteristics including traits that correlate with mating success in other populations. Thus, phenotypic differences observed in the Gunnison population represent a divergence in expression of traits that are likely to be influenced by sexual selection. Recent models of speciation suggest that species characterized by intense sexual selection, such as those with lek mating systems, have the potential for rapid inter-populational divergence in male traits and female preferences leading to speciation.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Phenotypic divergence of secondary sexual traits among sage grouse, Centrocercus urophasianus, populations|
|Series title||Animal Behaviour|
|Contributing office(s)||Alaska Science Center|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|