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Data for: Decoupling of sexual signals and their underlying morphology facilitates rapid phenotypic diversification


Gallagher, James et al. (2023), Data for: Decoupling of sexual signals and their underlying morphology facilitates rapid phenotypic diversification, Dryad, Dataset,


How novel phenotypes evolve is challenging to imagine because traits are often underlain by numerous integrated phenotypic components, and changes to any one form can disrupt the function of the entire module. Yet novel phenotypes do emerge, and research on adaptive phenotypic evolution suggests that complex traits can diverge while either maintaining existing form-function relationships or through innovations that alter form-function relationships. How these alternate routes contribute to sexual signal evolution is poorly understood, despite the role of sexual signals in generating biodiversity. In Hawaiian populations of the Pacific field cricket, male song attracts both female crickets and a deadly acoustically orienting parasitoid fly. In response to this conflict between natural and sexual selection, male crickets have evolved altered wing morphologies multiple times, resulting in loss and dramatic alteration of sexual signals. More recently, we and others have observed a radical increase in sexual signal variation and the underlying morphological structures that produce song. We conducted the first combined analysis of form (wing morphology), function (emergent signal), and receiver responses to characterize novel variation, test alternative hypotheses about form-function relationships (Form-Function Continuity vs. Form-Function Decoupling) and investigate underlying mechanistic changes and fitness consequences of novel signals. We identified three sound-producing male morphs (one previously undescribed, named “rattling”) and found that relationships between morphology and signals have been rewired (Form-Function Decoupling), rapidly and repeatedly, through the gain, loss, and alteration of morphological structures, facilitating the production of signals that exist in novel phenotypic space. By integrating across a hierarchy of phenotypes, we uncovered divergent morphs with unique solutions to the challenge of attracting mates while evading fatal parasitism.


National Science Foundation, Award: IOS1846520

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB2012041

National Science Foundation, Award: DBI2010983