Multivariate sexual selection in a rapidly evolving speciation phenotype

Kevin P. Oh, Kerry L. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Estimating the fitness surface of rapidly evolving secondary sexual traits can elucidate the origins of sexual isolation and thus speciation. Evidence suggests that sexual selection is highly complex in nature, often acting on multivariate sexual characters that sometimes include non-heritable components of variation, thus presenting a challenge for predicting patterns of sexual trait evolution. Laupala crickets have undergone an explosive species radiation marked by divergence in male courtship song and associated female preferences, yet patterns of sexual selection that might explain this diversification remain unknown. We used female phonotaxis trials to estimate the fitness surface for acoustic characters within one population of Laupala cerasina, a species with marked geographical variation in male song and female preferences. Results suggested significant directional sexual selection on three major song traits, while canonical rotation of the matrix of nonlinear selection coefficients (γ) revealed the presence of significant convex (stabilizing) sexual selection along combinations of characters. Analysis of song variation within and among males indicated significantly higher repeatability along the canonical axis of greatest stabilizing selection than along the axis of greatest linear selection. These results are largely consistent with patterns of song divergence that characterize speciation and suggest that different song characters have the potential to indicate distinct information to females during courtship.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20130482
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1761
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic signalling
  • Female preference
  • Fitness surface
  • Laupala
  • Repeatability
  • Stabilizing selection


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