Data from: Sexual selection on cuticular hydrocarbons of male sagebrush crickets in the wild
Steiger, Sandra et al. (2015), Data from: Sexual selection on cuticular hydrocarbons of male sagebrush crickets in the wild, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.7q7m6
Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) play an essential role in mate recognition in insects but the form and intensity of sexual selection on CHCs has only been evaluated in a handful of studies, and never in a natural population. We quantified sexual selection operating on CHCs in a wild population of sagebrush crickets, a species in which nuptial feeding by females imposes an unambiguous phenotypic marker on males. Multivariate selection analysis revealed a saddle-shaped fitness surface, suggesting a complex interplay between the total abundance of CHCs and specific CHC combinations in their influence on female choice. The fitness surface resulting from two axes of disruptive selection reflected a trade-off between short- and long-chained CHCs, suggesting that males may be sacrificing some level of desiccation resistance in favour of increased attractiveness. There was a significant correlation between male body size and total CHC abundance, suggesting that male CHCs provide females with a reliable cue for maximizing benefits obtained from males. Notwithstanding the conspicuousness of males’ acoustic signals, our results suggest that selection imposed on males via female mating preferences may be far more complex than previously appreciated and operating in multiple sensory modalities.