A large clade of cypridinid ostracodes, found only in the Caribbean, uses species specific courtship displays of secreted luminescence, produced by males, to attract photically silent females to mate. We recently described two new genera, Photeros and Enewton, which are part of this clade (Cohen and Morin, 2010). Within the various subclades of these signaling ostracodes in the Caribbean, only Photeros has been shown to have species-specific differences in both their luminescent displays and the morphology of the large male copulatory (eighth) limb (Cohen and Morin, 2010). The apparent ancestral display pattern, which occurs among at least some species in all the signaling clades of Caribbean ostracodes, is produced as a series of pulses of light secreted into the water column mostly in a vertical pattern, either upward or downward, above species-specific habitats. The pulses are of fairly long duration and become shorter and closer together. A derived pattern of very rapid pulses, which also shows within train interpulse distance shortening, is found only in the genus Photeros. It is likely that the high diversity found in this clade and other signaling clades has been driven by their life history patterns in conjunction with sexual selection acting via the courtship displays and their reproductive structures.
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Vol. 30 • No. 1