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Sexual selection on morphological and physiological traits and fluctuating asymmetry in the black scavenger fly Sepsis cynipsea


Blanckenhorn, Wolf U; Kraushaar, U; Teuschl, Y; Reim, C (2004). Sexual selection on morphological and physiological traits and fluctuating asymmetry in the black scavenger fly Sepsis cynipsea. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 17(3):629-641.

Abstract

Previous univariate studies of the fly Sepsis cynipsea (Diptera: Sepsidae) have demonstrated spatiotemporally variable and consequently overall weak sexual selection favouring large male size, which is nevertheless stronger on average than fecundity selection favouring larger females. To identify specific target(s) of selection on body size and additional traits possibly affecting mating success, two multivariate field studies of sexual selection were conducted. In one study using seasonal replicates from three populations, we assessed 15 morphological traits. No clear targets of sexual selection on male size could be detected, perhaps because spatiotemporal variation in selection was again strong. In particular, there was no (current) selection on male abdomen length or fore coxa length, the only traits for which S. cynipsea males are not smaller than females. Interestingly, copulating males had a consistently shorter fore femur base, a secondary sexual trait, and a wider clasper (hypopygium) gap, an external genital trait. In a second study using daily and seasonal replicates from one population, we included physiological measures of energy reserves (lipids, glucose, glycogen), in addition to hind tibia length and fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of all pairs of legs. This study again confirmed the mating advantage of large males, and additionally suggests independent positive influences of lipids (the long‐term energy stores), with effects of glucose and glycogen (the short‐term energy stores) tending to be negative. FA of paired traits was not associated with male mating success. Our study suggests that inclusion of physiological measures and genital traits in phenomenological studies of selection, which is rare, would be fruitful in other species.

Abstract

Previous univariate studies of the fly Sepsis cynipsea (Diptera: Sepsidae) have demonstrated spatiotemporally variable and consequently overall weak sexual selection favouring large male size, which is nevertheless stronger on average than fecundity selection favouring larger females. To identify specific target(s) of selection on body size and additional traits possibly affecting mating success, two multivariate field studies of sexual selection were conducted. In one study using seasonal replicates from three populations, we assessed 15 morphological traits. No clear targets of sexual selection on male size could be detected, perhaps because spatiotemporal variation in selection was again strong. In particular, there was no (current) selection on male abdomen length or fore coxa length, the only traits for which S. cynipsea males are not smaller than females. Interestingly, copulating males had a consistently shorter fore femur base, a secondary sexual trait, and a wider clasper (hypopygium) gap, an external genital trait. In a second study using daily and seasonal replicates from one population, we included physiological measures of energy reserves (lipids, glucose, glycogen), in addition to hind tibia length and fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of all pairs of legs. This study again confirmed the mating advantage of large males, and additionally suggests independent positive influences of lipids (the long‐term energy stores), with effects of glucose and glycogen (the short‐term energy stores) tending to be negative. FA of paired traits was not associated with male mating success. Our study suggests that inclusion of physiological measures and genital traits in phenomenological studies of selection, which is rare, would be fruitful in other species.

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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)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:9 February 2004
Deposited On:22 Aug 2019 12:06
Last Modified:31 Jul 2020 03:33
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1010-061X
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1420-9101.2004.00693.x

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