0958 Are there ecological costs of secondary sex colouration in the ambush bug, Phymata americana?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009: 4:35 PM
Room 103, First Floor (Convention Center)
David Punzalan , Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Sexually selected traits, while advantageous in terms of mating success, are expected to carry considerable costs in terms of viability selection. The ambush bug Phymata americana exhibits a peculiar sexual dimorphism in colour pattern where males express sex-specific patches of dark colour pattern. Previous work has demonstrated that this dimorphism can be accounted for by a combination of sexual selection favouring dark males and the energetic costs of colour pattern (i.e. dark colouration is strongly resource-limited). However, given that colour pattern is thought to be important in terms of visual crypsis of these insects in their natural habitat, exaggerated dark colouration might also carry ecological costs by increasing conspicuousness to predators and/or prey, or by disrupting any potential function in intraspecific signaling. In a field experiment where dark colour pattern was manipulated in females, I found no evidence that “male-like” colour pattern resulted in a selective disadvantage via increased predation risk, decreased foraging success, or suboptimal mating rates.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.43510

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