Selection for predation, not female fecundity, explains sexual size dimorphism in the orchid mantises.
ABSTRACT: Here we reconstruct the evolutionary shift towards floral simulation in orchid mantises and suggest female predatory selection as the likely driving force behind the development of extreme sexual size dimorphism. Through analysis of body size data and phylogenetic modelling of trait evolution, we recovered an ancestral shift towards sexual dimorphisms in both size and appearance in a lineage of flower-associated praying mantises. Sedentary female flower mantises dramatically increased in size prior to a transition from camouflaged, ambush predation to a floral simulation strategy, gaining access to, and visually attracting, a novel resource: large pollinating insects. Male flower mantises, however, remained small and mobile to facilitate mate-finding and reproductive success, consistent with ancestral male life strategy. Although moderate sexual size dimorphisms are common in many arthropod lineages, the predominant explanation is female size increase for increased fecundity. However, sex-dependent selective pressures acting outside of female fecundity have been suggested as mechanisms behind niche dimorphisms. Our hypothesised role of predatory selection acting on females to generate both extreme sexual size dimorphism coupled with niche dimorphism is novel among arthropods.
Project description:Dimorphic sexual differences in shape and body size are called sexual dimorphism and sexual size dimorphism, respectively. The degrees of both dimorphisms are considered to increase with sexual selection, represented by male-male competition. However, the degrees of the two dimorphisms often differ within a species. In some dung beetles, typical sexual shape dimorphisms are seen in male horns and other exaggerated traits, although sexual size dimorphism looks rare. We hypothesized that the evolution of this sexual shape dimorphism without sexual size dimorphism is caused by male-male competition and their crucial and sex-indiscriminate provisioning behaviors, in which parents provide the equivalent size of brood ball with each of both sons and daughters indiscriminately. As a result of individual-based model simulations, we show that parents evolve to provide each of sons and daughters with the optimal amount of resource for a son when parents do not distinguish the sex of offspring and males compete for mates. This result explains why crucial and sex-indiscriminate parental provisioning does not prevent the evolution of sexual shape dimorphism. The model result was supported by empirical data of Scarabaeidae beetles. In some dung beetles, sexual size dimorphism is absent, compared with significant sexual size dimorphism in other horned beetles, although both groups exhibit similar degrees of sexual shape dimorphism in male horns and other exaggerated traits.
Project description:Variation in the degree of sexual size dimorphism (SSD) among taxa is generally considered to arise from differences in the relative intensity of male-male competition and fecundity selection. One might predict, therefore, that SSD will vary systematically with (1) the intensity of sexual selection for increased male size, and (2) the intensity of fecundity selection for increased female size. To test these two fundamental hypotheses, we conducted a phylogenetic comparative analysis of SSD in fish. Specifically, using records of body length at first sexual maturity from FishBase, we quantified variation in the magnitude and direction of SSD in more than 600 diverse freshwater and marine fish species, from sticklebacks to sharks. Although female-biased SSD was common, and thought to be driven primarily by fecundity selection, variation in SSD was not dependent on either the allometric scaling of reproductive energy output or fecundity in female fish. Instead, systematic patterns based on habitat and life-history characteristics associated with varying degrees of male-male competition and paternal care strongly suggest that adaptive variation in SSD is driven by the intensity of sexual selection for increased male size.
Project description:Sexual size dimorphism (SSD) evolves because body size is usually related to reproductive success through different pathways in females and males. Female body size is strongly correlated with fecundity, while in males, body size is correlated with mating success. In many lizard species, males are larger than females, whereas in others, females are the larger sex, suggesting that selection on fecundity has been stronger than sexual selection on males. As placental development or egg retention requires more space within the abdominal cavity, it has been suggested that females of viviparous lizards have larger abdomens or body size than their oviparous relatives. Thus, it would be expected that females of viviparous species attain larger sizes than their oviparous relatives, generating more biased patterns of SSD. We test these predictions using lizards of the genus Sceloporus. After controlling for phylogenetic effects, our results confirm a strong relationship between female body size and fecundity, suggesting that selection for higher fecundity has had a main role in the evolution of female body size. However, oviparous and viviparous females exhibit similar sizes and allometric relationships. Even though there is a strong effect of body size on female fecundity, once phylogenetic effects are considered, we find that the slope of male on female body size is significantly larger than one, providing evidence of greater evolutionary divergence of male body size. These results suggest that the relative impact of sexual selection acting on males has been stronger than fecundity selection acting on females within Sceloporus lizards.
Project description:?Many angiosperms are hermaphroditic and produce bisexual flowers in which male (pollen export) and female (stigma receptivity) functions are separated temporally. This sequential hermaphroditism may be associated with variation in flower size, color, or pattern, all of which may influence pollinator attraction. In this study, we describe variation in these traits across discrete functional sex stages within and between 225 greenhouse-grown individuals of Clarkia unguiculata (Onagraceae). In addition, to identify the effects of floral phenotype on pollinator attraction in this species, we examine the effects of these floral traits on pollen receipt in ~180 individuals in an experimental field array.?Petal area, ultraviolet (UV)-absorbing nectar guide area, and blue and green mean petal reflectance differ significantly across the functional sex stages of C. unguiculata. Male- and female-phase flowers display significantly different pollinator attraction traits. Petal and UV nectar guide area increase as flowers progress from male phase to female phase, while blue reflectance and green reflectance peak during anther maturation.?In field arrays of C. unguiculata, female-phase flowers with large UV nectar guides receive more pollen than those with small nectar guides, and female-phase flowers with high mean blue reflectance values are more likely to receive pollen than those with low blue reflectance. Female-phase flowers with green mean reflectance values that differ most from background foliage also receive more pollen than those that are more similar to foliage. These findings indicate that components of flower color and pattern influence pollen receipt, independent of other plant attributes that may covary with floral traits. We discuss these results in the context of hypotheses that have been proposed to explain sex-specific floral attraction traits, and we suggest future research that could improve our understanding of sexual dimorphism in sequentially hermaphroditic species and the evolution of features that promote outcrossing.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The evolution of sexual size dimorphism (SSD) is likely constrained by life history. Using phylogenetic comparative methods, we examined correlations between SSD among anurans and their life history traits, including egg size, clutch size, mating combat, and parental care behaviour. We used sexual dimorphism index (SDI = Body-size(female) /Body-size(male) -1) as the measurement for SSD. Body size, life history and phylogenetic data were collected from published literature. Data were analysed at two levels: all anuran species and within individual families.<h4>Results</h4>Female-biased SSD is the predominant form in anurans. SSD decreases along with the body size increase, following the prediction of Rensch's rule, but the magnitude of decrease is very small. More importantly, female body size is positively correlated with both fecundity related traits, egg size and clutch size, and SDI is also positively correlated with clutch size, suggesting fecundity advantage may have driven the evolution of female body size and consequently leads to the evolution of female-biased SSD. Furthermore, the presence of parental care, male parental care in particular, is negatively correlated with SDI, indicating that species with parental care tend to have a smaller SDI. A negative correlation between clutch size and parental care further suggests that parental care likely reduces the fecundity selection pressure on female body size. On the other hand, there is a general lack of significant correlation between SDI and the presence of male combat behaviour, which is surprising and contradictory to previous studies.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We find clear evidence to support the 'fecundity advantage hypothesis' and the 'parental care hypothesis' in shaping SSD in anurans. Nevertheless, the relationships of both parental care and combat behaviour to the evolution of SSD are complex in anurans and the extreme diversity of life history traits may have masked some potential interesting relationships. Our study represents the most comprehensive study of SSD in anurans to date.
Project description:Some pollination systems, such as buzz-pollination, are associated with floral morphologies that require a close physical interaction between floral sexual organs and insect visitors. In these systems, a pollinator's size relative to the flower may be an important feature determining whether the visitor touches both male and female sexual organs and thus transfers pollen between plants efficiently. To date, few studies have addressed whether in fact the "fit" between flower and pollinator influences pollen transfer, particularly among buzz-pollinated species. Here we use <i>Solanum rostratum,</i> a buzz-pollinated plant with dimorphic anthers and mirror-image flowers, to investigate whether the morphological fit between the pollinator's body and floral morphology influences pollen deposition. We hypothesized that when the size of the pollinator matches the separation between the sexual organs in a flower, more pollen should be transferred to the stigma than when the visitor is either too small or too big relative to the flower. To test this hypothesis, we exposed flowers of <i>S. rostratum</i> with varying levels of separation between sexual organs, to bumblebees (<i>Bombus terrestris</i>) of different sizes. We recorded the number of visits received, pollen deposition, and fruit and seed production. We found higher pollen deposition when bees were the same size or bigger than the separation between anther and stigma within a flower. We found a similar, but not statistically significant pattern for fruit set. In contrast, seed set was more likely to occur when the size of the flower exceeded the size of the bee, suggesting that other postpollination processes may be important in translating pollen receipt to seed set. Our results suggest that the fit between flower and pollinator significantly influences pollen deposition in this buzz-pollinated species. We speculate that in buzz-pollinated species where floral morphology and pollinators interact closely, variation in the visitor's size may determine whether it acts mainly as a pollinator or as a pollen thief (i.e., removing pollen rewards but contributing little to pollen deposition and fertilization).
Project description:Pollinators mediate the evolution of secondary floral traits through both natural and sexual selection. Gender-biased nectar, for example, could be maintained by one or both, depending on the interactions between plants and pollinators. Here, I investigate pollinator responses to gender-biased nectar using the dichogamous herb Chrysothemis friedrichsthaliana (Gesneriaceae) which produces more nectar during the male floral phase. Previous research showed that the hummingbird pollinator Phaethornis striigularis visited male-phase flowers more often than female-phase flowers, and multiple visits benefited male more than female fecundity. If sexual selection maintains male-biased rewards, hummingbirds should prefer more-rewarding flowers independent of floral gender. If, however, differential rewards are partially maintained through natural selection, hummingbirds should respond to asymmetry with visits that reduce geitonogamy, i.e. selfing and pollen discounting. In plants with male biases, these visit types include single-flower visits and movements from low to high rewards. To test these predictions, I manipulated nectar asymmetry between pairs of real or artificial flowers on plants and recorded foraging behaviour. I also assessed maternal costs of selfing using hand pollinations. For plants with real flowers, hummingbirds preferred more-rewarding flowers and male-phase morphology, the latter possibly owing to previous experience. At artificial arrays, hummingbirds responded to extreme reward asymmetry with increased single-flower visits; however, they moved from high to low rewards more often than low to high. Finally, selfed flowers did not produce inferior seeds. In summary, sexual selection, more so than geitonogamy avoidance, maintains nectar biases in C. friedrichsthaliana, in one of the clearest examples of sexual selection in plants, to date.
Project description:In plants, dioecy characterizes species that carry male and female flowers on separate plants and it occurs in about 6% of angiosperms; however, the molecular mechanisms that underlie dioecy are essentially unknown. The ability for sex-reversal by hormone application raises the hypothesis that the genes required for the expression of both sexes are potentially functional but are regulated by epigenetic means. In this study, proteomic analysis of nuclear proteins isolated from flower buds of females, males, and feminized males of the dioecious plant Mercurialis annua revealed differential expression of nuclear proteins that are implicated in chromatin structure and function, including floral homeotic proteins. Focusing on floral genes, we found that class B genes were mainly expressed in male flowers, while class D genes, as well as SUPERMAN-like genes, were mainly expressed in female flowers. Cytokinin-induced feminization of male plants was associated with down-regulation of male-specific genes concomitantly with up-regulation of female-specific genes. No correlation was found between the expression of class B and D genes and the changes in DNA methylation or chromatin conformation of these genes. Thus, we could not confirm DNA methylation or chromatin conformation of floral genes to be the major determinant regulating sexual dimorphisms. Instead, determination of sex in M. annua might be controlled upstream of floral genes by one or more sex-specific factors that affect hormonal homeostasis. A comprehensive model is proposed for sex-determination in M. annua.
Project description:Within the large order of bats, sexual size dimorphism measured by forearm length and body mass is often female-biased. Several studies have explained this through the effects on load carrying during pregnancy, intrasexual competition, as well as the fecundity and thermoregulation advantages of increased female body size. We hypothesized that wing shape should differ along with size and be under variable selection pressure in a species where there are large differences in flight behaviour. We tested whether load carrying, sex differential migration, or reproductive advantages of large females affect size and wing shape dimorphism in the common noctule (Nyctalus noctula), in which females are typically larger than males and only females migrate long distances each year. We tested for univariate and multivariate size and shape dimorphism using data sets derived from wing photos and biometric data collected during pre-migratory spring captures in Switzerland. Females had forearms that are on average 1% longer than males and are 1% heavier than males after emerging from hibernation, but we found no sex differences in other size, shape, or other functional characters in any wing parameters during this pre-migratory period. Female-biased size dimorphism without wing shape differences indicates that reproductive advantages of big mothers are most likely responsible for sexual dimorphism in this species, not load compensation or shape differences favouring aerodynamic efficiency during pregnancy or migration. Despite large behavioural and ecological sex differences, morphology associated with a specialized feeding niche may limit potential dimorphism in narrow-winged bats such as common noctules and the dramatic differences in migratory behaviour may then be accomplished through plasticity in wing kinematics.
Project description:Fecundity selection is a critical component of fitness and a major driver of adaptive evolution. Trade-offs between parasite mortality and host resources are likely to impose a selection pressure on parasite fecundity, but this is little studied in natural systems. The 'fecundity advantage hypothesis' predicts female-biased sexual size dimorphism whereby larger females produce more offspring. Parasitic insects are useful for exploring the interplay between host resource availability and parasite fecundity, because female body size is a reliable proxy for fecundity in insects. Here we explore temporal changes in body size in the myiasis-causing parasite Philornis downsi (Diptera: Muscidae) on the Galápagos Islands under conditions of earlier in-nest host mortality. We aim to investigate the effects of decreasing host resources on parasite body size and fecundity. Across a 12-year period, we observed a mean of c. 17% P. downsi mortality in host nests with 55 ± 6.2% host mortality and a trend of c. 66% higher host mortality throughout the study period. Using specimens from 116 Darwin's finch nests (Passeriformes: Thraupidae) and 114 traps, we found that over time, P. downsi pupae mass decreased by c. 32%, and male (c. 6%) and female adult size (c. 11%) decreased. Notably, females had c. 26% smaller abdomens in later years, and female abdomen size was correlated with number of eggs. Our findings imply natural selection for faster P. downsi pupation and consequently smaller body size and lower parasite fecundity in this newly evolving host-parasite system.