Sexual selection and population divergence I. the influence of socially flexible cuticular hydrocarbon expression in male field crickets (Teleogryllus oceanicus).
Wilson, Alastair J.
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Debates about how coevolution of sexual traits and preferences might promote evolutionary diversification have permeated speciation research for over a century. Recent work demonstrates that the expression of such traits can be sensitive to variation in the social environment. Here we examined social flexibility in a sexually selected male trait - cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) profiles - in the field cricket Teleogryllus oceanicus and tested whether population genetic divergence predicts the extent or direction of social flexibility in allopatric populations. We manipulated male crickets' social environments during rearing and then characterised CHC profiles. CHC signatures varied considerably across populations and also in response to the social environment, but our prediction that increased social flexibility would be selected in more recently founded populations exposed to fluctuating demographic environments was unsupported. Furthermore, models examining the influence of drift and selection failed to support a role of sexual selection in driving population divergence in CHC profiles. Variation in social environments might alter the dynamics of sexual selection, but our results align with theoretical predictions that the role social flexibility plays in modulating evolutionary divergence depends critically on whether responses to variation in the social environment are homogeneous across populations, or whether gene-by-social-environment interactions occur. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
University of California Pacific Rim Research Grant
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
This is the peer reviewed version of the article which has been published in final form at DOI: 10.1111/evo.12839.
© 2015 The Author(s). Evolution © 2015 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
Vol: 70: 82–97.