The relative effects of pace of life-history and habitat characteristics on the evolution of sexual ornaments: A comparative assessmentSowersby, Will; Eckerstrom-Liedholm, Simon; Rowinski, Piotr K.; Balogh, Julia; Eiler, Stefan; Upstone, Joseph D.; Gonzalez-Voyer, Alejandro; Rogell, Bjorn;
Selection may favor greater investment into sexual ornaments when opportunities for future reproduction are limited, for example, under high adult mortality. However, predation, a key driver of mortality, typically selects against elaborate sexual ornaments. Here, we examine the evolution of sexual ornaments in killifishes, which have marked contrasts in life-history strategy among species and inhabit environments that differ in accessibility to aquatic predators. We first assessed if the size of sexual ornaments (unpaired fins) influenced swimming performance. Second, we investigated whether the evolution of larger ornamental fins is driven primarily by the pace of life-history (investment into current vs. future reproduction) or habitat type (a proxy for predation risk). We found that larger fins negatively affected swimming performance. Further, males from species inhabiting ephemeral habitats, with lower predation risk, had larger fins and greater sexual dimorphism in fin size, compared to males from more accessible permanent habitats. We show that enlarged ornamental fins, which impair locomotion, evolve more frequently in environments that are less accessible to predators, without clear associations to life-history strategy. Our results provide a rare link between the evolution of sexual ornaments, effects on locomotion performance, and natural selection on ornament size potentially through habitat differences in predation risk.
Fins; killifish; life-history theory; secondary sexual traits; sexual selection
Published inEvolution 2022, volume: 76, number: 1, pages: 114-127
UKÄ Subject classification
Fish and Aquacultural Science
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