Data from: Directional selection on body size but no apparent survival cost to being large in wild New Zealand giraffe weevils
LeGrice, Rebecca Jane et al. (2019), Data from: Directional selection on body size but no apparent survival cost to being large in wild New Zealand giraffe weevils, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8vs71c3
When an individual’s reproductive success relies on winning fights to secure mating opportunities, bearing larger weapons is advantageous. However, sexual selection can be extremely complex, and over an animal’s life the opportunity to mate is influenced by numerous factors. We studied a wild population of giraffe weevils (Lasiorhynchus barbicornis) which exhibit enormous intra and intersexual size variation. Males bear an elongated rostrum used as a weapon in fights for mating opportunities. However, small males also employ sneaking behaviour as an alternative reproductive tactic. We investigated sexual selection on size by tracking individual males and females daily over two 30-day periods to measure long-term mating success. We also assessed how survival and recapture probabilities vary with sex and size to determine whether there might be a survival cost associated with size. We found evidence for directional selection on size through higher mating success, but no apparent survival trade-off. Instead, larger individuals mate more often and have a higher survival probability, suggesting an accumulation of benefits to bigger individuals. Furthermore, we found evidence of size assortative mating where males appear to selectively mate with bigger females. Larger and more competitive males secure matings with larger females more frequently than smaller males, which may further increase their fitness.