Data from: Disruptive sexual selection on body size in the polyphenic black scavenger fly Sepsis thoracica
Busso, Juan Pablo; Blanckenhorn, Wolf U. (2018), Data from: Disruptive sexual selection on body size in the polyphenic black scavenger fly Sepsis thoracica, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.k3b6sv7
Sexual selection has two main components, female preference and male-male competition, which can lead males to adopt alternative reproductive tactics to optimize their reproductive success. Two traits that significantly influence reproductive success are body size and coloration, as they can facilitate access to females through male contests or as female attractors. We investigated whether, and if so which mechanism of sexual selection contributes to the maintenance, and possibly even the establishment, of two almost discrete male morphs in the polyphenic black scavenger fly Sepsis thoracica (Diptera: Sepsidae): small and black, or large and amber. We performed two complementary laboratory experiments to evaluate the mating success of the different male morphs and the behaviors (of both males and females) presumably mediating their mating success. We found evidence for intraspecific disruptive sexual selection on male body size that is mediated by male-male interactions, and significant positive directional selection on body size that interacted with (directional) selection on coloration, likely contributing to the origin and/or maintenance of the threshold relationship between the two traits in this species. The simultaneous occurrence of disruptive selection and polyphenism in S. thoracica supports the role of sexual selection in the intraspecific diversification of coupled traits (here body size and coloration), which could be a speciation starting point.