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The role of sexual selection and conflict in mediating among-population variation in mating strategies and sexually dimorphic traits in Sepsis punctum


Dmitriew, Caitlin; Blanckenhorn, Wolf U (2012). The role of sexual selection and conflict in mediating among-population variation in mating strategies and sexually dimorphic traits in Sepsis punctum. PLoS ONE, 7(12):e49511.

Abstract

The black scavenger fly Sepsis punctum exhibits striking among-population variation in the direction and magnitude of sexual size dimorphism, modification to the male forelimb and pre-copulatory behaviour. In some populations, male-biased sexual size dimorphism is observed; in other, less dimorphic, populations males court prior to mating. Such variation in reproductive traits is of interest to evolutionary biologists because it has the potential to limit gene flow among populations, contributing to speciation. Here, we investigate whether large male body size and modified forefemur are associated with higher male mating success within populations, whether these traits are associated with higher mating success among populations, and if these traits carry viability costs that could constrain their response to sexual selection. Flies from five distinct populations were reared at high or low food, generating high and low quality males. The expression of body size, forelimb morphology and courtship rate were each greater at high food, but high food males experienced higher mating success or reduced latency to first copulation in only one of the populations. Among populations, overall mating success increased with the degree of male-bias in overall body size and forelimb modification, suggesting that these traits have evolved as a means of increasing male mating rate. The increased mating success observed in large-male populations raises the question of why variation in magnitude of dimorphism persists among populations. One reason may be that costs of producing a large size constrain the evolution of ever-larger males. We found no evidence that juvenile mortality under food stress was greater for large-male populations, but development time was considerably longer and may represent an important constraint in an ephemeral and competitive growth environment.

Abstract

The black scavenger fly Sepsis punctum exhibits striking among-population variation in the direction and magnitude of sexual size dimorphism, modification to the male forelimb and pre-copulatory behaviour. In some populations, male-biased sexual size dimorphism is observed; in other, less dimorphic, populations males court prior to mating. Such variation in reproductive traits is of interest to evolutionary biologists because it has the potential to limit gene flow among populations, contributing to speciation. Here, we investigate whether large male body size and modified forefemur are associated with higher male mating success within populations, whether these traits are associated with higher mating success among populations, and if these traits carry viability costs that could constrain their response to sexual selection. Flies from five distinct populations were reared at high or low food, generating high and low quality males. The expression of body size, forelimb morphology and courtship rate were each greater at high food, but high food males experienced higher mating success or reduced latency to first copulation in only one of the populations. Among populations, overall mating success increased with the degree of male-bias in overall body size and forelimb modification, suggesting that these traits have evolved as a means of increasing male mating rate. The increased mating success observed in large-male populations raises the question of why variation in magnitude of dimorphism persists among populations. One reason may be that costs of producing a large size constrain the evolution of ever-larger males. We found no evidence that juvenile mortality under food stress was greater for large-male populations, but development time was considerably longer and may represent an important constraint in an ephemeral and competitive growth environment.

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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:08 Mar 2013 14:10
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 20:30
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0049511
PubMed ID:23227145

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