Natural and sexual selection on cuticular hydrocarbons: A quantitative genetic analysis

Jacob D. Berson, Marlene Zuk, Leigh W. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

While the reproductive benefits of sexual displays have been widely studied, we have relatively limited evidence of the fitness costs associated with most display traits. Insect cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) profiles are sexually selected traits that also protect against desiccation. These two functions are thought to oppose each other, with investment in particular compounds believed to increase attractiveness at the expense of compounds that protect against water loss. We investigated this potential trade-off in a quantitative genetic framework using the Australian field cricket, Teleogryllus oceanicus. Several compounds were significantly genetically correlated with either attractiveness or desiccation resistance. Of these compounds, one was negatively genetically correlated with attractiveness but positively genetically correlated with desiccation resistance. Furthermore, scoring each individual's overall CHC profile for its level of attractiveness and desiccation resistance indicated a negative genetic correlation between these multivariate phenotypes. Together, our results provide evidence for a genetic trade-off between sexually and naturally selected functions of the CHC profile. We suggest that the production of an attractive CHC profile may be costly for males, but highlight the need for further work to support this finding experimentally. Genetic covariation between the CHC profile and attractiveness suggests that females can gain attractive sons through female choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20190677
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume286
Issue number1902
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported through an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship to J.D.B., a University of Western Australia Research Collaboration Award and an Australian Research Council Discovery Project to L.W.S. We thank Fabian Rudin for assistance with breeding the crickets, Maxine Lovegrove and Karolina Berson for laboratory assistance, and Joseph Tomkins and Bruno Buzatto for statistical advice. The authors acknowledge the facilities, and the scientific and technical assistance of the Metabolomics Australia Facility at the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation & Analysis, The University of Western Australia, a facility funded by the University, State and Commonwealth Governments.

Funding Information:
This work was supported through an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship to J.D.B., a University of Western Australia Research Collaboration Award and an Australian Research Council Discovery Project to L.W.S. Acknowledgements

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Costs
  • Cuticular hydrocarbon
  • Desiccation
  • Female choice
  • Sexual signals
  • Teleogryllus oceanicus

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