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Sexual selection on male size drives the evolution of male-biased sexual size dimorphism via the prolongation of male development


Rohner, Patrick T; Blanckenhorn, Wolf U; Puniamoorthy, Nalini (2016). Sexual selection on male size drives the evolution of male-biased sexual size dimorphism via the prolongation of male development. Evolution, 70(6):1189-1199.

Abstract

Sexual size dimorphism (SSD) arises when the net effects of natural and sexual selection on body size differ between the sexes. Quantitative SSD variation between taxa is common, but directional intraspecific SSD reversals are rare. We combined micro- and macroevolutionary approaches to study geographic SSD variation in closely related black scavenger flies. Common garden experiments revealed stark intra- and interspecific variation: Sepsis biflexuosa is monomorphic across the Holarctic, while S. cynipsea (only in Europe) consistently exhibits female-biased SSD. Interestingly, S. neocynipsea displays contrasting SSD in Europe (females larger) and North America (males larger), a pattern opposite to the geographic reversal in SSD of S. punctum documented in a previous study. In accordance with the differential equilibrium model for the evolution of SSD, the intensity of sexual selection on male size varied between continents (weaker in Europe), whereas fecundity selection on female body size did not. Subsequent comparative analyses of 49 taxa documented at least six independent origins of male-biased SSD in Sepsidae, which is likely caused by sexual selection on male size and mediated by bimaturism. Therefore, reversals in SSD and the associated changes in larval development might be much more common and rapid and less constrained than currently assumed.

Abstract

Sexual size dimorphism (SSD) arises when the net effects of natural and sexual selection on body size differ between the sexes. Quantitative SSD variation between taxa is common, but directional intraspecific SSD reversals are rare. We combined micro- and macroevolutionary approaches to study geographic SSD variation in closely related black scavenger flies. Common garden experiments revealed stark intra- and interspecific variation: Sepsis biflexuosa is monomorphic across the Holarctic, while S. cynipsea (only in Europe) consistently exhibits female-biased SSD. Interestingly, S. neocynipsea displays contrasting SSD in Europe (females larger) and North America (males larger), a pattern opposite to the geographic reversal in SSD of S. punctum documented in a previous study. In accordance with the differential equilibrium model for the evolution of SSD, the intensity of sexual selection on male size varied between continents (weaker in Europe), whereas fecundity selection on female body size did not. Subsequent comparative analyses of 49 taxa documented at least six independent origins of male-biased SSD in Sepsidae, which is likely caused by sexual selection on male size and mediated by bimaturism. Therefore, reversals in SSD and the associated changes in larval development might be much more common and rapid and less constrained than currently assumed.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:10 Aug 2016 08:52
Last Modified:10 Aug 2016 08:52
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0014-3820
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.12944
PubMed ID:27168489

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