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Am Nat. 2013 Sep;182(3):410-20. doi: 10.1086/671233. Epub 2013 Jul 15.

The contributions of premating and postmating selection episodes to total selection in sex-role-reversed Gulf pipefish.

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Department of Biology, 3258 TAMU, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA.


Empirical studies of sexual selection often focus on events occurring either before or after mating but rarely both and consequently may fail to discern the relative magnitudes and interactions of premating and postmating episodes of selection. Here, we simultaneously quantify premating and postmating selection in the sex-role-reversed Gulf pipefish by using a microsatellite-based analysis of parentage in experimental populations. Female pipefish exhibited an opportunity for selection (I) of 1.64, which was higher than that of males (0.35). Decompositions of I and the selection differential on body size showed that over 95% of the selection on females arose from the premating phase. We also found evidence for a trade-off between selection phases, where multiply mating females had significantly lower offspring survivorship compared to singly mated females. In males, variance in relative fitness arose mainly from the number of eggs received per copulation and a small number of males who failed to mate. Overall, our study exemplifies a general approach for the decomposition of total selection into premating and postmating phases to understand the interplay among components of natural and sexual selection that conspire to shape sexually selected traits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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