Experimental evidence for the role of sexual selection in the evolution of cuticular hydrocarbons in the dung beetle, Onthophagus taurus

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Abstract

A role for sexual selection in the evolution of insect cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) is suggested by observations of selection acting on male CHCs during female mate choice. However, evidence that CHCs evolve in response to sexual selection is generally lacking, and there is a need to extend our understanding beyond well-studied taxa. Experimental evolution offers a powerful approach to investigate the effect of sexual selection on the evolution of insect CHCs. We conducted such an experiment using the dung beetle, Onthophagus taurus. After six, 12 and 21 generations of experimental evolution, we measured the CHCs of beetles from three populations subject to sexual selection and three populations within which sexual selection had been removed via enforced monogamy. We found that the male CHC profile responded to the experimental removal of sexual selection. Conversely, the CHC profile of females responded to the presence of sexual selection but not to its removal. These results show that sexual selection can be an important mechanism affecting the evolution of insect CHCs and that male and female CHCs can evolve independently.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1186-1193
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume32
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

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Onthophagus taurus
dung beetles
sexual selection
hydrocarbons
beetle
hydrocarbon
insect
insects
monogamy
mate choice
mating behavior

Cite this

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title = "Experimental evidence for the role of sexual selection in the evolution of cuticular hydrocarbons in the dung beetle, Onthophagus taurus",
abstract = "A role for sexual selection in the evolution of insect cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) is suggested by observations of selection acting on male CHCs during female mate choice. However, evidence that CHCs evolve in response to sexual selection is generally lacking, and there is a need to extend our understanding beyond well-studied taxa. Experimental evolution offers a powerful approach to investigate the effect of sexual selection on the evolution of insect CHCs. We conducted such an experiment using the dung beetle, Onthophagus taurus. After six, 12 and 21 generations of experimental evolution, we measured the CHCs of beetles from three populations subject to sexual selection and three populations within which sexual selection had been removed via enforced monogamy. We found that the male CHC profile responded to the experimental removal of sexual selection. Conversely, the CHC profile of females responded to the presence of sexual selection but not to its removal. These results show that sexual selection can be an important mechanism affecting the evolution of insect CHCs and that male and female CHCs can evolve independently.",
keywords = "CHC, dung beetles, experimental evolution, sexual dimorphism, sexual selection",
author = "Berson, {Jacob D.} and Francisco Garcia-Gonzalez and Simmons, {Leigh W.}",
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AU - Berson, Jacob D.

AU - Garcia-Gonzalez, Francisco

AU - Simmons, Leigh W.

PY - 2019/11/1

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N2 - A role for sexual selection in the evolution of insect cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) is suggested by observations of selection acting on male CHCs during female mate choice. However, evidence that CHCs evolve in response to sexual selection is generally lacking, and there is a need to extend our understanding beyond well-studied taxa. Experimental evolution offers a powerful approach to investigate the effect of sexual selection on the evolution of insect CHCs. We conducted such an experiment using the dung beetle, Onthophagus taurus. After six, 12 and 21 generations of experimental evolution, we measured the CHCs of beetles from three populations subject to sexual selection and three populations within which sexual selection had been removed via enforced monogamy. We found that the male CHC profile responded to the experimental removal of sexual selection. Conversely, the CHC profile of females responded to the presence of sexual selection but not to its removal. These results show that sexual selection can be an important mechanism affecting the evolution of insect CHCs and that male and female CHCs can evolve independently.

AB - A role for sexual selection in the evolution of insect cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) is suggested by observations of selection acting on male CHCs during female mate choice. However, evidence that CHCs evolve in response to sexual selection is generally lacking, and there is a need to extend our understanding beyond well-studied taxa. Experimental evolution offers a powerful approach to investigate the effect of sexual selection on the evolution of insect CHCs. We conducted such an experiment using the dung beetle, Onthophagus taurus. After six, 12 and 21 generations of experimental evolution, we measured the CHCs of beetles from three populations subject to sexual selection and three populations within which sexual selection had been removed via enforced monogamy. We found that the male CHC profile responded to the experimental removal of sexual selection. Conversely, the CHC profile of females responded to the presence of sexual selection but not to its removal. These results show that sexual selection can be an important mechanism affecting the evolution of insect CHCs and that male and female CHCs can evolve independently.

KW - CHC

KW - dung beetles

KW - experimental evolution

KW - sexual dimorphism

KW - sexual selection

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