Comparative tests of evolutionary trade-offs in a palinurid lobster acoustic system.
Communication structures vary greatly in size and can be structurally and behaviorally integrated with other systems. In structurally integrated systems, dramatic changes in size may impose trade-offs with the size of neighboring structures. In spiny lobsters (Palinuridae), there is a fivefold difference in size of the antennular plate, on which sound producing apparatus is located, such that the antennular plate reaches 38% carapace length in some sound producers (Stridentes) compared to only 4% carapace length in non-sound producing spiny lobsters (Silentes). We examined whether this major variation in antennular plate size imposes trade-offs with the adjoining antennae, specifically in the context that the signal producing structures and antennae are both used in predator defense. We recorded and analyzed lobster sounds in order to test whether size increases in the acoustic morphology were correlated with production of particular signal features. Antennal and antennular plate structures were measured across the family, including both Stridentes and Silentes. Phylogenetic comparative methods were used to test for correlated evolutionary change among the structures and signal features. We analyzed the phylogenetic relationships of the Palinuridae based on morphological characters and ribosomal DNA evidence (16S, 18S and 28S nuclear and mitochondrial ribosomal RNA gene regions). We found that the number of sound pulses was positively correlated with length of the sound producing apparatus. Opposite to the predicted trade-offs, we found that the size of the antennular plate was positively correlated with size of the surrounding antennae within Stridentes. Nevertheless, when Stridentes were compared to Silentes, the latter had relatively larger antennae for a given antennular plate size than did the sound producing taxa. These results suggest that body size does not limit size increases in acoustic structures within Stridentes, however the presence and associated constructional costs of a sound producing apparatus may impose a trade-off when taxa with and without the apparatus are compared. Alternatively, since both systems are used in predator defense, this pattern may indicate greater selection for antennal force production in Silentes, which lack the additional acoustic mode of predator defense.
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