Diversification through sexual selection on gustatorial courtship traits in dwarf spiders [article]

Shou-Wang Lin, Gabriele Uhl, Lara Lopardo
2021 bioRxiv   pre-print
Sexual dimorphism can evolve under sexual selection or ecological factors. Sexually dimorphic male prosomal modifications are associated with gustatorial courtship in erigonines. The modifications vary from moderate elevations to bizarre shapes. Males transfer substances from these structures to females, which affect mate acceptance and fecundity. Here, we explore lability of these traits by investigating if modified prosomata are inherently linked to secretory glands, if glands evolved prior
more » ... prosomal modifications, and the possibility of convergent evolution and cryptic differentiation, aiming at assessing the possible role of this trait complex in speciation. We reconstructed the positions of glands and the musculature in the anterior part of prosomata of 76 erigonines and three outgroups using micro-CT. We incorporated these characters into an existing morphological character matrix and reanalyzed the phylogeny. Our results support the possession of glands as the ancestral state. The manifold modifications of the prosomal shape have evolved convergently. Differences in glandular positions between species with modified/unmodified prosomata suggest high lability of these traits. Cases of gland loss suggest considerable costs of gustatorial courtship. Our findings demonstrate divergent evolutionary patterns of these traits, and a likely facilitating effect of this type of sexual selection on speciation.
doi:10.1101/2021.05.22.444967 fatcat:6rtf7mbb4nb5jaopz5ig4zabjq