Sexual dimorphism in the water strider, Aquarius remigis: a case study of adaptation in response to sexually antagonistic selection
This chapter describes a series of studies examining the adaptive significance of sexual size dimorphism (SSD) in the water strider, Aquarius remigis. The data reveal that SSD is negligible until the adult stage, and there is no evidence of sexual bimaturation, ecological niche divergence, or sex-specific selection prior to reproductive maturity. However, once maturity is reached, sexual selection favours longer genitalia but smaller soma in males, fecundity selection favors longer abdomens in females, and longevity selection favours smaller size in both sexes. These patterns lead to net stabilizing selection with both sexes near their optimal sizes. Patterns of genetic correlations indicate that the genetic architecture has evolved in response to this sex-specific selection, and would facilitate rapid response of SSD to changing patterns of selection. This may explain why SSD can be close to equilibrium in local populations in spite of strong between-sex genetic correlations for overall size.
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