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Variation in pre- and post-copulatory sexual selection on male genital size in two species of lygaeid bug

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Abstract

Sexual selection has been shown to be the driving force behind the evolution of the sometimes extreme and elaborate genitalia of many species. Sexual selection may arise before and/or after mating, or vary according to other factors such as the social environment. However, bouts of selection are typically considered in isolation. We measured the strength and pattern of selection acting on the length of the male intromittent organ (or processus) in two closely related species of lygaeid seed bug: Lygaeus equestris and Lygaeus simulans. In both species, we measured both pre- and post-copulatory selection. For L. equestris, we also varied the experimental choice design used in mating trials. We found contrasting pre- and post-copulatory selection on processus length in L. equestris. Furthermore, significant pre-copulatory selection was only seen in mating trials in which two males were present. This selection likely arises indirectly due to selection on a correlated trait, as the processus does not interact with the female prior to copulation. In contrast, we were unable to detect significant pre- or post-copulatory selection on processus length in L. simulans. However, a formal meta-analysis of previous estimates of post-copulatory selection on processus length in L. simulans suggests that there is significant stabilising selection across studies, but the strength of selection varies between experiments. Our results emphasise that the strength and direction of sexual selection on genital traits may be multifaceted and can vary across studies, social contexts and different stages of reproduction.
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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-637
Number of pages13
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume70
Issue number4
Early online date2 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

    Research areas

  • Genital evolution, Sexual selection, Social environment, Lygaeinae, Post-copulatory, Pre-copulatory, Meta-analysis

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