Male-female Coevolution in Bruchid seed beetles
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Male-female coevolution is at the heart of biology. It is responsible for much of the diversity we see in behaviour and morphology, and it is thought to be an important engine of speciation. The pattern of intersexual coevolution is well established in many taxa, yet understanding of the processes responsible for male-female coevolution remains incomplete. By studying interspecific variation within a closely related group of species, we can gain important information about how traits and behaviours have evolved. In the work done for this thesis, we studied a group of seed beetle species. Our results show that male-female coevolution has been a strong force in shaping both behaviour and morphological traits that are associated with mating and reproduction such as, morphology of male and female genitalia and remating behaviour. The evolution of harmful male genitalia has often been suggested to be a product of sexually antagonistic coevolution, but understanding of these extraordinary adaptations is limited. By combining comparative and experimental methods we show that as seed beetle males evolve more spiny genitalia, harm to females is elevated. We provide evidence for the correlated evolution between these antagonistic adaptations in males, and a female counter adaptation (the amount of connective tissue in the copulatory duct). We also demonstrate that imbalance of relative armament of the sexes affects evolution of the costs and benefits of reproduction. As males evolve genitalia that are more harmful relative to the level of female counteradaptation, costs associated with mating for females increase and population fitness is depressed. Our results unveil a coevolutionary arms race between the sexes and are consistent with a proposed link between sexual conflict, species’ viability and the risk of extinction.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2009. , 38 p.
, Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 614
Research subject Animal Ecology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-61566ISBN: 978-91-554-7444-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-61566DiVA: diva2:436337
List of papers