Leapfrog to speciation boosted by mother’s influence

Machteld Verzijden in Nature:

Females of O. pumilio lay eggs on the ground, on a leaf covered by other foliage, where they are fertilized by the male. During the following week, the male ensures that the eggs stay wet, and after the eggs have hatched, the female takes over the parental care. She carries each tadpole on her back (Fig. 1) to a water-filled bromeliad plant, and then returns to feed the tadpole with her unfertilized eggs until it is sexually mature. The authors studied three colour types of O. pumilio, and carried out laboratory experiments involving three set-ups: tadpoles were raised by their biological parents, which were both the same colour; they were raised by their parents, which were of different colours; or they were raised by foster frogs that were not the same colour as the tadpoles’ parents. For all three scenarios, when the female tadpoles became adults, female offspring preferred to mate with males of the same colour as the mother that had reared them.

Yang and colleagues demonstrated that male offspring had an imprinted behaviour, too. These frogs biased their territorial aggression towards males of the same colour as the mother that had reared them.

More here.