Data from: Socially selected ornaments and fitness: signals of fighting ability in paper wasps are positively associated with survival, reproductive success, and rank
Tibbetts, Elizabeth Alison et al. (2015), Data from: Socially selected ornaments and fitness: signals of fighting ability in paper wasps are positively associated with survival, reproductive success, and rank, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0398p
Many animals have ornaments that mediate choice and competition in social and sexual contexts. Individuals with elaborate sexual ornaments typically have higher fitness than those with less elaborate ornaments, but less is known about whether socially selected ornaments are associated with fitness. Here, we test the relationship between fitness and facial patterns that are a socially-selected signal of fighting ability in Polistes dominula wasps. We found wasps that signal higher fighting ability have larger nests, are more likely to survive harsh winters, and obtain higher dominance rank than wasps that signal lower fighting ability. In comparison, body weight was not associated with fitness. Larger wasps were dominant over smaller wasps, but showed no difference nest size or survival. Overall, the positive relationship between wasp facial patterns and fitness indicates that receivers can obtain diverse information about a signaler's phenotypic quality by paying attention to socially selected ornaments. Therefore, there are surprisingly strong parallels between the information conveyed by socially and sexually selected signals. Similar fitness relationships in social and sexually selected signals may be one reason it can be difficult to distinguish the role of social versus sexual selection in ornament evolution.