Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Phenotypic variation and covariation indicate high evolvability of acoustic communication in crickets


Blankers, Thomas; Lübke, Anna Katharina; Hennig, Ralf Matthias (2015), Data from: Phenotypic variation and covariation indicate high evolvability of acoustic communication in crickets, Dryad, Dataset,


Studying the genetic architecture of sexual traits provides insight into the rate and direction at which traits can respond to selection. Traits associated with few loci and limited genetic and phenotypic constraints tend to evolve at high rates typically observed for secondary sexual characters. Here, we examined the genetic architecture of song traits and female song preferences in the field crickets Gryllus rubens and G. texensis. Song and preference data were collected from both species and interspecific F1 and F2 hybrids. We first analysed phenotypic variation to examine interspecific differentiation and trait distributions in parental and hybrid generations. Then, the relative contribution of additive and additive-dominance variation was estimated. Finally, phenotypic variance-covariance (P) matrices were estimated to evaluate the multivariate phenotype available for selection. Song traits and preferences had unimodal trait distributions and hybrid offspring were intermediate with respect to the parents. We uncovered additive and dominance variation in song traits and preferences. For two song traits we found evidence for X-linked inheritance. On one hand, the observed genetic architecture does not suggest rapid divergence, although sex-linkage may have allowed for somewhat higher evolutionary rates. On the other hand, P matrices revealed that multivariate variation in song traits aligned with major dimensions in song preferences, suggesting a strong selection response. We also found strong covariance between the main traits that are sexually selected and traits that are not directly selected by females, providing an explanation for the striking multivariate divergence in male calling songs despite limited divergence in female preferences.

Usage Notes