The Evolution of Sexually Homologous Ornaments Selection via Male Mate Choice Coinciding with Male-Male Competition in a Neotropical Mosquito
Sammanfattning: The evolution of elaborate male ornaments via sexual selection is well-understood while the selective pressures acting on female ornaments remains unresolved. Female ornaments in species with strong sexual selection on the male homologue of the ornament were originally thought to result from an intersexual genetic correlation. My thesis explores the evolution of ornaments in females due to direct selection by developing theoretical models and examining the biology of a neotropical mosquito (Sabethes cyaneus) with sexually homologous ornaments coinciding with male-male competition.I began by exploring the morphology of the ornaments in both sexes of S. cyaneus. Sexual dimorphism in the size and shape of the ornaments was slight and both male and female ornaments showed classic hallmarks of sexually selected traits. I then tested for direct selection on S. cyaneus male and female ornaments via mutual mate choice. I found evidence of male, but surprisingly not female, preferences for ornaments.I then further considered the evolution of male mate choice in polygynous species. First, I investigated whether male investment in courtship by S. cyaneus may result in a lower operational sex ratio and thereby reduce the costs associated with male mate choice. Male courtship did pose a significant longevity cost to male S. cyaneus. Second, I explored the possibility that a female preference for male courtship effort may contribute to the benefits of male mate choice in a series of population genetic models. The spread of a male preference gene can be driven by female preferences for male courtship when males court preferred females more.Finally, I found that female S. cyaneus are not benefitting from signalling to increase their mating rate as they are monandrous. My thesis therefore challenges standing sexual selection theory and suggests that sexual selection on females may be more widespread than previously thought.
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