Reflexive Selection: A Possible Answer to an Old Puzzle

  title={Reflexive Selection: A Possible Answer to an Old Puzzle},
  author={Gairdner Bostwick Moment},
  pages={262 - 263}
  • G. Moment
  • Published 20 April 1962
  • Biology
  • Science
With the color vision and learning abilities of birds and teleosts now proved, it appears possible that the hitherto puzzling massive variation in color and pattern of certain species, distributed through at least five phyla, is not the result of the mere free play of mutation but represents a protective variation and is the product of what may be called reflexive selection. 

The Evolution of Color Polymorphism: Crypticity, Searching Images, and Apostatic Selection

This review clarifies the argument for a perceptual selective mechanism and examines the relevant experimental evidence for frequency-dependent, apostatic selection in cryptic prey species.

Experimenting with apostatic selection

Some of the experimental evidence for ‘apostatic selection’ in land snails, much of which has come from work with artificial prey, is reviewed and guidelines for further experiments are suggested.

Further evidence for apostatic selection by wild passerine birds: training experiments

SummarySight-dependent predators may tend to form “searching images” for common varieties of a polymorphic prey species. Selection would then be frequency-dependent and could maintain the

Reflexive Selection: Moment's Hypothesis Resurrected

Certain species of small and abundant animals display massive polymorphism in colour and pattern sometimes on a scale in which it is impossible, even with samples of hundreds or thousands, to find

Reflexive selection is apostatic selection

It is argued that reflexive selection is no different from apostatic selection, an interpretation that was implied both by Li (1962) and Moment himself (Moment 1962b) in addenda to the original report.

The Effect of Experience and Novelty on Avian Feeding Behavior with Reference to the Evolution of Warning Coloration in Butterflies. II. Reactions of Naive Birds to Novel Insects

In this experiment, hand-raised birds avoided novel insects in a manner which showed that the rejection was not learned or innate, and suggest that there need not be an association with noxiousness in order for conspicuous coloration to be a selective advantage.

Apostatic selection : the responses of wild passerines to artificial polymorphic prey

Experiments with wild passerine birds in their normal surroundings confirmed that rare forms are preferred at maximum density, and presented of greens and browns in equal numbers gave no evidence that the colours differed in taste.

On "Reflexive Selection"

Some natural populations show an extremely high degree of polymorphism, especially in color and pattern, which may be interpreted as "protective variation," and two possible genetic models have been proposed to account for the phenomenon.

Further evidence for apostatic selection by wild passerine birds—9:1 experiments

The consistency of the replicated experiments gives strong reason to believe that apostatic selection is a widespread phenomenon among avian predators, and provides an explanation for many of the non-mimetic colour and pattern polymorphisms found among their prey.

Perceptual Processes and the Maintenance of Polymorphism Through Frequency-dependent Predation

The investigations of both proximate (perceptual mechanisms) and ultimate (pattern of predation) processes are necessary to fully understand the importance of individual behavioural processes for mediating evolutionary and ecological diversity.



Adaptive Coloration in Animals

THIS excellent work, eagerly awaited for many years, will be most welcome to naturalists, even, we may hope, to the few who have hitherto rejected the Darwinian interpretation which the author has

The genetics of polymorphism in the Lepidoptera.

  • E. Ford
  • Biology
    Advances in genetics
  • 1953

Adaptive Coloration inz Animals

  • 1940


  • Scientist 49, 285 (1961). 27 November 1961 20 APRIL
  • 1962

Agr. Wildlife Research Bull

  • 1940