Evol Ecol Res 10: 763-773 (2008)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Population differences in condition-dependent sexual selection may promote divergence in non-sexual traits

Karin S. Pfennig

Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

Correspondence: K.S. Pfennig, Department of Biology, CB#3280, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280, USA.
e-mail: kpfennig@email.unc.edu


Hypothesis: Populations undergoing different patterns of condition-dependent sexual selection can diverge not only in the sexual signals directly targeted by selection, but also in correlated traits (e.g. body size or condition).

Organisms: Spadefoot toads (Spea multiplicata).

Methods: Because interactions with heterospecifics can affect the expression of mate choice, I compared the condition of females’ preferred mates and randomly chosen unmated males between populations that differed in the presence of heterospecifics. I also determined experimentally whether these males’ condition predicted offspring growth.

Results: Female mate choice may exert directional selection on male condition in allopatry but not sympatry: the condition of females’ preferred mates was significantly higher in allopatry than in sympatry. Moreover, in allopatry, but not sympatry, the condition of preferred males predicted offspring growth. These population differences could explain, at least in part, why Spea multiplicata adults are larger and females more fecund in allopatry than in sympatry.

Keywords: fitness trade-offs, mate choice, mate-quality recognition, reproductive character displacement, sexual selection, speciation, species recognition.

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