Biology as Poetry: Evolutionary Biology

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Behavioral Isolation

Things that organisms actively do to avoid mating with members of other species.

The key word here is "active", that is, the involvement of some activity, particularly one that specifically exists for the sake of avoiding such mating. In actuality, though, behavioral barriers to reproduction typically function not so much in the negative as in positive, i.e., things that increase that "attractiveness" of potential mates.

One thing that can determine, in an ultimate causation sense, what is found to be attractive are behaviors that allow an organism to relatively easily distinguish conspecifics from individuals who are members of different species.

Specifically in terms of behaviors that serve as prezygotic barriers to reproduction are mating rituals. That is, animals often perform various fixed action patterns prior to mating that serve multiple purposes including judgement of the fitness of potential mates along with whether or not those individuals are conspecifics.

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