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Sex-specific responses to fecundity selection in the broad-nosed pipefish


Winkler, Jasmin D; Stölting, Kai N; Wilson, Anthony B (2012). Sex-specific responses to fecundity selection in the broad-nosed pipefish. Evolutionary Ecology, 26(3):701-714.

Abstract

Fecundity selection, acting on traits enhancing reproductive output, is an important determinant of organismal body size. Due to a unique mode of reproduction, mating success and fecundity are positively correlated with body size in both sexes of male-pregnant Syngnathus pipefish. As male pipefish brood eggs on their tail and egg production in females occurs in their ovaries (located in the trunk region), fecundity selection is expected to affect both sexes in this species, and is predicted to act differently on body proportions of males and females during their development. Based on this hypothesis, we investigated sexual size dimorphism in body size allometry and vertebral numbers across populations of the widespread European pipefish Syngnathus typhle. Despite the absence of sex-specific differences in overall and region-specific vertebral counts, male and female pipefish differ significantly in the relative lengths of their trunk and tail regions, consistent with region-specific selection pressures in the two sexes. Male pipefish show significant growth allometry, with disproportionate growth in the brooding tail region relative to the trunk, resulting in increasingly skewed region-specific sexual size dimorphism with increasing body size, a pattern consistent across five study populations. Sex-specific differences in patterns of growth in S. typhle support the hypothesis that fecundity selection can contribute to the evolution of sexual size dimorphism.

Abstract

Fecundity selection, acting on traits enhancing reproductive output, is an important determinant of organismal body size. Due to a unique mode of reproduction, mating success and fecundity are positively correlated with body size in both sexes of male-pregnant Syngnathus pipefish. As male pipefish brood eggs on their tail and egg production in females occurs in their ovaries (located in the trunk region), fecundity selection is expected to affect both sexes in this species, and is predicted to act differently on body proportions of males and females during their development. Based on this hypothesis, we investigated sexual size dimorphism in body size allometry and vertebral numbers across populations of the widespread European pipefish Syngnathus typhle. Despite the absence of sex-specific differences in overall and region-specific vertebral counts, male and female pipefish differ significantly in the relative lengths of their trunk and tail regions, consistent with region-specific selection pressures in the two sexes. Male pipefish show significant growth allometry, with disproportionate growth in the brooding tail region relative to the trunk, resulting in increasingly skewed region-specific sexual size dimorphism with increasing body size, a pattern consistent across five study populations. Sex-specific differences in patterns of growth in S. typhle support the hypothesis that fecundity selection can contribute to the evolution of sexual size dimorphism.

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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:2012
Deposited On:12 Mar 2012 13:32
Last Modified:21 Nov 2017 15:59
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0269-7653
Additional Information:The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10682-011-9516-4

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