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Sex ratio bias leads to the evolution of sex role reversal in honey locust beetles


Fritzsche, Karoline; Booksmythe, Isobel; Arnqvist, Göran (2016). Sex ratio bias leads to the evolution of sex role reversal in honey locust beetles. Current Biology, 26(18):2522-2526.

Abstract

The reversal of conventional sex roles was enigmatic to Darwin, who suggested that it may evolve when sex ratios are female biased [1]. Here we present direct evidence confirming Darwin’s hypothesis. We investigated mating system evolution in a sex-role-reversed beetle (Megabruchidius dorsalis) using experimental evolution under manipulated sex ratios and food regimes. In female-biased populations, where reproductive competition among females was intensified, females evolved to be more attractive and the sex roles became more reversed. Interestingly, female-specific mating behavior evolved more rapidly than male-specific mating behavior. We show that sexual selection due to reproductive competition can be strong in females and can target much the same traits as in males of species with conventional mating systems. Our study highlights two central points: the role of ecology in directing sexual selection and the role that females play in mating system evolution.

Abstract

The reversal of conventional sex roles was enigmatic to Darwin, who suggested that it may evolve when sex ratios are female biased [1]. Here we present direct evidence confirming Darwin’s hypothesis. We investigated mating system evolution in a sex-role-reversed beetle (Megabruchidius dorsalis) using experimental evolution under manipulated sex ratios and food regimes. In female-biased populations, where reproductive competition among females was intensified, females evolved to be more attractive and the sex roles became more reversed. Interestingly, female-specific mating behavior evolved more rapidly than male-specific mating behavior. We show that sexual selection due to reproductive competition can be strong in females and can target much the same traits as in males of species with conventional mating systems. Our study highlights two central points: the role of ecology in directing sexual selection and the role that females play in mating system evolution.

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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:26 September 2016
Deposited On:10 Feb 2017 13:58
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 23:19
Publisher:Cell Press (Elsevier)
ISSN:0960-9822
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2016.07.018
PubMed ID:27593373

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