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The Evolution of Complex Signals in Schizocosa Wolf Spiders
Why animals use complex signals has long been an important question in animal communication study. Previous studies suggested multiple environmental and ecological factors that may promote the evolution of complex signals including transmission characteristics of signaling environment, male-male competition, mate choice, species recognition, etc. In my dissertation study, I investigated how these multiple ecological and environmental factors influence the evolution of complex courtship signals of Schizocosa wolf spiders. In Chapter 1, I investigated whether the multimodal courtship signals encompassing visual and vibratory signal components increase the efficiency of courtship signaling in heterogeneous signaling environments through a series of laboratory experiments with Schizocosa retrorsa males. In Chapter 2, I investigated whether and how S. retrorsa males adjust their signaling behavior by plastic behavioral alteration responding to vibratory signals from conspecific males. In Chapter 3, I tested if the female preference for more complex male courtship signals may promote the evolution of complex signals in Schzicosa stridulans through laboratory mating trials and information-theoretic complexity metrics. In Chapter 4, I developed field recording and computational tools for vibratory soundscape analysis for understanding the effects of interspecific signal space overlap on the evolution of complex signals in Schizocosa wolf spiders in their natural habitats. Through the integration of chapters, I found (i) the mismatch between transmission efficiency of multimodal courtship signals and mating success of S. retrorsa males (Chapter 1), (ii) plastic alteration of male reproductive behaviors responding to male-male competition (Chapter 2), (iii) female preference to complex courtship signals (Chapter 3), and (iv) potential impacts of interspecific acoustic niche competition on the evolution of complex signals in Schizocosa wolf spiders (Chapter 4) with the development of empirical and theoretical tools to understand the evolution of complex signals (Chapter 3 & 4).
Choi, Noori, "The Evolution of Complex Signals in Schizocosa Wolf Spiders" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI29164519.