Meeting Abstract

139-4  Sunday, Jan. 7 14:15 - 14:30  The interplay between life history patterns and phenotypic convergence in cleaner wrasses BALIGA, VB*; MEHTA, RS; Univ. of British Columbia; Univ. of California, Santa Cruz

Phenotypic convergence is a macroevolutionary pattern that need not be consistent across life history stages. Ontogenetic transitions in dietary specialization clearly illustrate the dynamics of ecological selection as organisms grow. Few studies have documented how the extent of phenotypic convergence among taxa that share a similar ecological niche may vary ontogenetically. Because ontogenetic processes have been shown to evolve, phylogenetic comparative methods can be useful in examining how scaling patterns relate to ecology. Cleaning, a behavior in which taxa consume ectoparasites off clientele, is well-represented among wrasses (Labridae). Nearly three-fourths of labrids that clean do so predominately as juveniles, transitioning away as adults. We examine the scaling patterns of 33 labrid species to understand how life history patterns of cleaning relate to ontogenetic patterns of phenotypic convergence. We find that as juveniles, cleaners exhibit convergence in body and cranial traits that enhance ectoparasitivory. We then find that taxa that transition away from cleaning exhibit ontogenetic trajectories that are distinct from those of other wrasses. Obligate and facultative species that continue to clean over ontogeny, however, maintain characteristics that are conducive to cleaning. Collectively, we find that life history patterns of cleaning behavior are concordant with ontogenetic patterns in phenotype in the Labridae.