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Species Concepts and Reproductive Isolating Barriers

Author(s): Tadzia GrandPré, PhD, Nancy Moreno, PhD, and Lisa Marie Meffert, PhD

Ethological Isolation

Ethological (behavioral) isolation results from differences in courtship or mating behavior that keep members of different species from mating, even when they inhabit the same geographic area. These barriers often consist of special signals or elaborate behaviors that are used by members of a species to attract or recognize and accept mates. Examples include courtship displays (such as with the blue-footed boobies in this photo), pheromones (chemical signals), and the songs of birds.

Ethological isolation specifically prevents mating between different species and therefore also prevents the formation of a zygote. It is a premating isolating barrier as well as a prezygotic isolating barrier.