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Data from: Selection for predation, not female fecundity, explains sexual size dimorphism in the orchid mantises

posted on 2022-06-10, 03:00 authored by Gavin J. Svenson, Sydney K. Brannoch, Henrique M. Rodrigues, James C. O'Hanlon, Frank Wieland
Here we reconstruct the evolutionary shift towards floral simulation in orchid mantises and suggest female predatory selection as the likely driving force behind the development of extreme sexual size dimorphism. Through analysis of body size data and phylogenetic modelling of trait evolution, we recovered an ancestral shift towards sexual dimorphisms in both size and appearance in a lineage of flower-associated praying mantises. Sedentary female flower mantises dramatically increased in size prior to a transition from camouflaged, ambush predation to a floral simulation strategy, gaining access to, and visually attracting, a novel resource: large pollinating insects. Male flower mantises, however, remained small and mobile to facilitate mate-finding and reproductive success, consistent with ancestral male life strategy. Although moderate sexual size dimorphisms are common in many arthropod lineages, the predominant explanation is female size increase for increased fecundity. However, sex-dependent selective pressures acting outside of female fecundity have been suggested as mechanisms behind niche dimorphisms. Our hypothesised role of predatory selection acting on females to generate both extreme sexual size dimorphism coupled with niche dimorphism is novel among arthropods.

Usage Notes

Data matrixCombined molecular and morphology matrix used to generate phylogenetic trees. A data partition block is included at the end of the data matrix.Svenson et al Combined data.nexMorphological character descriptionsDescription of morphology characters used in phylogenetic analysis. Character numbers correspond to the order of appearance in the data matrix. Characters taken from Svenson et al. (2015).Morphology characters.docxMeasurement dataAll direct measurement data used for statistical and ratio analysis.


National Science Foundation : DEB-1216309


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