Pre and Post-copulatory Selection Favor Similar Genital Phenotypes in the Male Broad Horned Beetle

Clarissa M. House, M. D. Sharma, Kensuke Okada, David J. Hosken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Sexual selection can operate before and after copulation and the same or different trait(s) can be targeted during these episodes of selection. The direction and form of sexual selection imposed on characters prior to mating has been relatively well described, but the same is not true after copulation. In general, when male-male competition and female choice favor the same traits then there is the expectation of reinforcing selection on male sexual traits that improve competitiveness before and after copulation. However, when male-male competition overrides pre-copulatory choice then the opposite could be true. With respect to studies of selection on genitalia there is good evidence that male genital morphology influences mating and fertilization success. However, whether genital morphology affects reproductive success in more than one context (i.e., mating versus fertilization success) is largely unknown. Here we use multivariate analysis to estimate linear and nonlinear selection on male body size and genital morphology in the flour beetle Gnatocerus cornutus, simulated in a non-competitive (i.e., monogamous) setting. This analysis estimates the form of selection on multiple traits and typically, linear (directional) selection is easiest to detect, while nonlinear selection is more complex and can be stabilizing, disruptive, or correlational. We find that mating generates stabilizing selection on male body size and genitalia, and fertilization causes a blend of directional and stabilizing selection. Differences in the form of selection across these bouts of selection result from a significant alteration of nonlinear selection on body size and a marginally significant difference in nonlinear selection on a component of genital shape. This suggests that both bouts of selection favor similar genital phenotypes, whereas the strong stabilizing selection imposed on male body size during mate acquisition is weak during fertilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-693
Number of pages12
JournalIntegrative and Comparative Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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