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Data from: The tale of the shrinking weapon: seasonal changes in nutrition affect weapon size and sexual dimorphism, but not contemporary evolution

Citation

Miller, Christine W.; McDonald, Grant C.; Moore, Allen J. (2016), Data from: The tale of the shrinking weapon: seasonal changes in nutrition affect weapon size and sexual dimorphism, but not contemporary evolution, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.t2g67

Abstract

Sexually selected traits are often highly variable in size within populations due to their close link with the physical condition of individuals. Nutrition has a large impact on physical condition, and thus, any seasonal changes in nutritional quality are predicted to alter the average size of sexually selected traits as well as the degree of sexual dimorphism in populations. However, although traits affected by mate choice are well studied, we have a surprising lack of knowledge of how natural variation in nutrition affects the expression of sexually selected weapons and sexual dimorphism. Further, few studies explicitly test for differences in the heritability and mean-scaled evolvability of sexually selected traits across conditions. We studied Narnia femorata (Hemiptera: Coreidae), an insect where males use their hind legs as weapons and the femurs are enlarged, to understand the extent to which weapon expression, sexual dimorphism and evolvability change across the actual range of nutrition available in the wild. We found that insects raised on a poor diet (cactus without fruit) are nearly monomorphic, whereas those raised on a high-quality diet (cactus with ripe fruit) are distinctly sexually dimorphic via the expression of large hind leg weapons in males. Contrary to our expectations, we found little evidence of a potential for evolutionary change for any trait measured. Thus, although we show weapons are highly condition dependent, and changes in weapon expression and dimorphism could alter evolutionary dynamics, our populations are unlikely to experience further evolutionary changes under current conditions.

Usage Notes

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-092685

Location

United States