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Data from: It takes two: seasonal variation in sexually dimorphic weaponry results from divergent changes in males and females

Citation

Heuring, Whitney L.; Hughes, Melissa (2019), Data from: It takes two: seasonal variation in sexually dimorphic weaponry results from divergent changes in males and females, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.kc40s9h

Abstract

Sexually dimorphic weaponry often results from intrasexual selection, and weapon size can vary seasonally when costs of bearing the weapon exceed the benefits outside of the reproductive season. Weapons can also be favored in competition over nonreproductive resources such as food or shelter, and if such nonreproductive competition occurs year‐round, weapons may be less likely to vary seasonally. In snapping shrimp (Alpheus angulosus), both sexes have an enlarged snapping claw (a potentially deadly weapon), and males of many species have larger claws than females, although females are more aggressive. This contrasting sexual dimorphism (larger weaponry in males, higher aggression in females) raises the question of whether weaponry and aggression are favored by the same mechanisms in males and females. We used field data to determine whether either sex shows seasonal variation in claw size such as described above. We found sexual dimorphism increased during the reproductive season due to opposing changes in both male and female claw size. Males had larger claws during the reproductive season than during the nonreproductive season, a pattern consistent with sexual selection. Females, however, had larger claws during the nonreproductive season than during the reproductive season—a previously unknown pattern of variation in weapon size. The observed changes in female weapon size suggest a trade‐off between claw growth and reproduction in the reproductive season, with investment in claw growth primarily in the nonreproductive season. Sexually dimorphic weaponry in snapping shrimp, then, varies seasonally due to sex differences in seasonal patterns of investment in claw growth, suggesting claws may be advantageous for both sexes but in different contexts. Thus, understanding sexual dimorphisms through the lens of one sex yields an incomplete understanding of the factors favoring their evolution.

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