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Timothy McDougald

Posts: 1030
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 31 2008,10:06   

Rapid Antagonistic Coevolution Between Primary And Secondary Sexual Characters In Horned Beetles

Here is the abstract:

Different structures may compete during development for a shared and limited pool of resources to sustain growth and differentiation. The resulting resource allocation trade-offs have the potential to alter both ontogenetic outcomes and evolutionary trajectories. However, little is known about the evolutionary causes and consequences of resource allocation trade-offs in natural populations. Here, we explore the significance of resource allocation trade-offs between primary and secondary sexual traits in shaping early morphological divergences between four recently separated populations of the horned beetle Onthophagus taurus as well as macroevolutionary divergence patterns across 10 Onthophagus species. We show that resource allocation trade-offs leave a strong signature in morphological divergence patterns both within and between species. Furthermore, our results suggest that genital divergence may, under certain circumstances, occur as a byproduct of evolutionary changes in secondary sexual traits. Given the importance of copulatory organ morphology for reproductive isolation our findings begin to raise the possibility that secondary sexual trait evolution may promote speciation as a byproduct. We discuss the implications of our results on the causes and consequences of resource allocation trade-offs in insects.

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