Maladaptive secondary sexual characteristics reduce the reproductive success of hybrids between native and nonnative salmonids
Human-mediated hybridization between introduced and native species is one of the most serious threats to native taxa. Although field studies have attempted to quantify the relative fitness or reproductive success of parental species and their hybrids, only a few studies have started to unravel the factors determining the fitness of hybrids. Here we hypothesized that maladaptive secondary sexual characteristics may reduce fitness of hybrids between two fish species. To test this, we evaluated the reproductive success of introduced brook trout (BT: Salvelinus fontinalis), native white-spotted charr (WSC: S. leucomaenis) and their hybrids in a natural stream in Hokkaido, Japan, where the two parental species show remarkably different male secondary sexual characteristics, such as elongated jaws and deeper bodies. We predicted that introgression from WSC is maladaptive for BT males because the BT male has a morphology that is advantageous during male-male interactions. Our results suggest that both sexual selection of male secondary sexual characteristics and outbreeding depression in males and females significantly influence an individual’s reproductive success. Our results also suggest that asymmetric introgression may increase the risks to persistence in the recipient species.