Fluctuating asymmetry and sexual selection in the Mediterranean fruitfly (Diptera, Tephritidae)



Hunt MK, Crean CS, Wood RJ & Gilburn A (1998) Fluctuating asymmetry and sexual selection in the Mediterranean fruitfly (Diptera, Tephritidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 64 (3), pp. 385-396.

Sexual selection is known to operate at medfly leks with a few males gaining a high proportion of matings. However, specific male characteristics subject to sexual selection have not been identified. Here we report laboratory studies indicating that directional sexual selection operates on the level of fluctuating asymmetry (FA) in the superior frontal orbital setae (sex setae), with symmetrical males gaining more matings. Studies relating mating success with FA in a male trait have generally been taken as evidence of the operation of indirect sexual selection. For a male trait to acts as a reliable indicator of fitness, FA in the male trait should be negatively associated with trait size and females should mate with the males with the most exaggerated form of the trait. However no association was found between seta FA and mean seta length. In addition sexual selection did not appear to operate on mean trait size, although males with an intermediate sex seta to wing length ratio did achieve higher mating success, indicating that stabilizing sexual selection operates on this relative dimension. It is suggested that differences in male competitive ability may provide an alternative explanation of how such associations between mating success and FA in male characteristics can arise.

mating success; sex setae; medfly; wing length; Ceratitis capitata

Biological Journal of the Linnean Society: Volume 64, Issue 3

Publication date31/07/1998

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Dr Andre Gilburn

Dr Andre Gilburn

Senior Lecturer, Biological and Environmental Sciences