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Geometric morphometrics reveals sex-differential shape allometry in a spider.


ABSTRACT: Common scientific wisdom assumes that spider sexual dimorphism (SD) mostly results from sexual selection operating on males. However, testing predictions from this hypothesis, particularly male size hyperallometry, has been restricted by methodological constraints. Here, using geometric morphometrics (GMM) we studied for the first time sex-differential shape allometry in a spider (Donacosa merlini, Araneae: Lycosidae) known to exhibit the reverse pattern (i.e., male-biased) of spider sexual size dimorphism. GMM reveals previously undetected sex-differential shape allometry and sex-related shape differences that are size independent (i.e., associated to the y-intercept, and not to size scaling). Sexual shape dimorphism affects both the relative carapace-to-opisthosoma size and the carapace geometry, arguably resulting from sex differences in both reproductive roles (female egg load and male competition) and life styles (wandering males and burrowing females). Our results demonstrate that body portions may vary modularly in response to different selection pressures, giving rise to sex differences in shape, which reconciles previously considered mutually exclusive interpretations about the origins of spider SD.

SUBMITTER: Fernandez-Montraveta C 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5533156 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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