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Am Nat. 2005 Feb;165(2):281-9. Epub 2004 Dec 28.

Contrasting mutual sexual selection on homologous signal traits in Drosophila serrata.

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School of Integrative Biology, University of Queensland, St. Lucia 4072, Queensland, Australia.


The nature of male mating preferences, and how they differ from female mating preferences in species with conventional sex roles, has received little attention in sexual selection studies. We estimated the form and strength of sexual selection as a consequence of male and female mating preferences in a laboratory-based population of Drosophila serrata. The differences between sexual selection on male and female signal traits (cuticular hydrocarbons [CHCs]) were evaluated within a formal framework of linear and nonlinear selection gradients. Females tended to exert linear sexual selection on male CHCs, whereas males preferred intermediate female CHC phenotypes leading to convex (stabilizing) selection gradients. Possible mechanisms determining the nonlinear nature of sexual selection on female CHCs are proposed.

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