Why and how to apply Weber's Law to coevolution and mimicry.
Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
MetadataShow full item record
Dixit, T., Caves, E. M., Spottiswoode, C., & Horrocks, N. (2021). Why and how to apply Weber's Law to coevolution and mimicry.. Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 75 (8), 1906-1919. https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.14290
In mimicry systems, receivers discriminate between the stimuli of models and mimics. Weber's Law of proportional processing states that receiver discrimination is based on proportional, not absolute, differences between stimuli. Weber's Law operates in a variety of taxa and modalities, yet it has largely been ignored in the context of mimicry, despite its potential relevance to whether receivers can discriminate models from mimics. Specifically, Weber's Law implies that for a given difference in stimulus magnitude between a model and mimic, as stimulus magnitudes increase, the mimic will be less discriminable from their model. This implies that mimics should benefit when stimulus magnitudes are high, and that high stimulus magnitudes will reduce selection for mimetic fidelity. Whether models benefit from high stimulus magnitudes depends on whether mimicry is honest or deceptive. We present four testable predictions about evolutionary trajectories of models and mimics based on this logic. We then provide a framework for testing whether receiver discrimination adheres to Weber's Law and illustrate it using coevolutionary examples and case studies from avian brood parasitism. We conclude that, when studying mimicry systems, researchers should consider whether receiver perception conforms to Weber's Law, since it could drive stimulus evolution in counterintuitive directions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
We thank Mark E. Hauber and Mikus Abolins-Abols for discussing their study with us. We also thank Jana M. Riederer, Jess Lund, Mairenn N. Attwood, Gabriel A. Jamie, Mahika K. Dixit, and Jonah M. Walker for comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. TD was funded by a Balfour studentship from the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge. EMC was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement (No 793454). CNS was funded by a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship (BB/J014109/1) and the European Research Council (Consolidator Grant 725185).
Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2013-251)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) ERC (725185)
Embargo Lift Date
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.14290
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/324532
All rights reserved