Ontogeny of sexual dimorphism and phenotypic integration in heritable morphs

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Abstract

In this study we investigated the developmental basis of adult phenotypes in a non-model organism, a polymorphic damselfly (Ischnura elegans) with three female colour morphs. This polymorphic species presents an ideal opportunity to study intraspecific variation in growth trajectories, morphological variation in size and shape during the course of ontogeny, and to relate these juvenile differences to the phenotypic differences of the discrete adult phenotypes; the two sexes and the three female morphs. We raised larvae of different families in individual enclosures in the laboratory, and traced morphological changes during the course of ontogeny. We used principal components analysis to examine the effects of Sex, Maternal morph, and Own morph on body size and body shape. We also investigated the larval fitness consequences of variation in size and shape by relating these factors to emergence success. Females grew faster than males and were larger as adults, and there was sexual dimorphism in body shape in both larval and adult stages. There were also significant effects of both maternal morph and own morph on growth rate and body shape in the larval stage. There were significant differences in body shape, but not body size, between the adult female morphs, indicating phenotypic integration between colour, melanin patterning, and body shape. Individuals that emerged successfully grew faster and had different body shape in the larval stage, indicating internal (non-ecological) selection on larval morphology. Overall, morphological differences between individuals at the larval stage carried over to the adult stage. Thus, selection in the larval stage can potentially result in correlated responses in adult phenotypes and vice versa.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences

Keywords

  • antagonistic selection, alternative phenotypes, complex life-cycle, correlational selection, sexual conflict, mimicry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-121
JournalEvolutionary Ecology
Volume22
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes