Cast Adrift on an Island: Introduced Populations Experience an Altered Balance Between Selection and Drift

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Biology Letters


Royal Society Publishing

Publication Date



A long-standing question in evolutionary biology is what becomes of adaptive traits when a species expands its range into novel environments. Here, we report the results of a study on an adaptive colour pattern polymorphism (stripes) of the coqui frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui, following its introduction to Hawaii from Puerto Rico. We compared population differentiation () for the stripes locus—which underlies this colour pattern polymorphism—with neutral microsatellite loci to test for a signature of selection among native and introduced populations. Among native populations, for stripes were lower than expected under the neutral model, suggesting uniform balancing selection. Alternatively, among introduced populations, for stripes did not differ from the neutral model. These results suggest that the evolutionary dynamics of this previously adaptive trait have become dominated by random genetic drift following the range expansion.