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Sexual ornaments but not weapons trade off against testes size in primates


Lüpold, Stefan; Simmons, Leigh W; Grueter, Cyril C (2019). Sexual ornaments but not weapons trade off against testes size in primates. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 286(1900):20182542.

Abstract

Males must partition their limited reproductive investments between traits that promote access to females (sexual ornaments and weapons) and traits that enhance fertilization success, such as testes and ejaculates. Recent studies show that if the most weaponized males can monopolize access to females through contest competition, thereby reducing the risk of sperm competition, they tend to invest less in sperm production. However, how males invest in sexual ornaments relative to sperm production remains less clear. If male ornaments serve as badges of status, with high-ranking males attaining near-exclusive access to females, similar to monopolizing females through combat, their expression should also covary negatively with investment in post-mating traits. In a comparative study across primates, which exhibit considerable diversification in sexual ornamentation, male weaponry and testes size, we found relative testes size to decrease with sexual ornaments but increase with canine size. These contrasting evolutionary trajectories might be driven by differential selection, functional constraints or temporal patterns of metabolic investment between the different types of sexual traits. Importantly, however, our results indicate that the theory of relative investments between weapons and testes in the context of monopolizing females can extend to male ornaments.

Abstract

Males must partition their limited reproductive investments between traits that promote access to females (sexual ornaments and weapons) and traits that enhance fertilization success, such as testes and ejaculates. Recent studies show that if the most weaponized males can monopolize access to females through contest competition, thereby reducing the risk of sperm competition, they tend to invest less in sperm production. However, how males invest in sexual ornaments relative to sperm production remains less clear. If male ornaments serve as badges of status, with high-ranking males attaining near-exclusive access to females, similar to monopolizing females through combat, their expression should also covary negatively with investment in post-mating traits. In a comparative study across primates, which exhibit considerable diversification in sexual ornamentation, male weaponry and testes size, we found relative testes size to decrease with sexual ornaments but increase with canine size. These contrasting evolutionary trajectories might be driven by differential selection, functional constraints or temporal patterns of metabolic investment between the different types of sexual traits. Importantly, however, our results indicate that the theory of relative investments between weapons and testes in the context of monopolizing females can extend to male ornaments.

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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)
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Immunology and Microbiology, General Agricultural and Biological Sciences, General Environmental Science, General Medicine
Language:English
Date:10 April 2019
Deposited On:29 Jan 2020 15:30
Last Modified:10 Feb 2020 10:08
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:0962-8452
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2018.2542
Official URL:https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2018.2542
PubMed ID:30966988
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPP00P3_170669
  • : Project TitleGenetic variation in quality and sexual selection on condition-dependent traits

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