Meeting Abstract

S7-8  Sunday, Jan. 6 11:30 - 12:00  Macroevolutionary insights from independent origins of cleaning behavior around the world: synthesizing morphology, ecology and biogeographic patterns BALIGA, VB*; MEHTA, RS; University of British Columbia, Vancouver; Univ. of California, Santa Cruz

Members of an ecological guild may be expected to show morphological convergence, as similar functional demands may exert similar selective pressures on phenotypes. Nature is rife with examples, however, where taxa may instead exhibit ‘incomplete’ convergence or even divergence. Incorporating additional factors such as competitive displacement from other guild members or variation in ecological specialization itself may therefore be necessary to gain a more complete understanding of the factors that constrain or promote diversity. Cleaning, a behavior in which species remove and consume ectoparasites from ‘clientele’, has been shown to exhibit variation in specialization and has evolved in a variety of marine habitats around the globe. We use the evolution of cleaning behavior in clades within five marine fish families, Labridae, Gobiidae, Pomacanthidae, Pomacentridae, and Embiotocidae, to determine the extent to which both specialization in this tropic strategy and biogeographic overlap has affected phenotypic evolution. Here, we use a comparative geometric morphometric framework to showcase patterns of convergence and divergence in body shape and size across non-cleaning and cleaning members within these five clades. Focusing chiefly on two regions, the Indo-Pacific and the Caribbean, we find that the highly specialized, obligate cleaning evolves early, shows highly convergent morphological patterns, and is restricted to species of small body size. Facultative cleaning is a relatively younger behavior that shows a much more varied pattern, especially in geographic regions where obligate cleaning is already present.