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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: The role of functional constraints in nonrandom mating patterns for a dance fly with female ornaments
Author(s): Murray, Rosalind L
Gwynne, Darryl T
Bussiere, Luc F
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Keywords: assortative mating
dance flies
female ornaments
male mate choice
mating constraint
Rhamphomyia longicauda
sexual selection
Issue Date: Sep-2019
Citation: Murray RL, Gwynne DT & Bussiere LF (2019) The role of functional constraints in nonrandom mating patterns for a dance fly with female ornaments. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 32 (9), pp. 984-993.
Abstract: Most hypotheses to explain non‐random mating patterns invoke mate choice, particularly in species that display elaborate ornaments. However, conflicting selection pressures on traits can result in functional constraints that can also cause non‐random mating patterns. We tested for functional load‐lifting constraints during aerial copulation in Rhamphomyia longicauda, a species of dance fly that displays multiple extravagant female‐specific ornaments that are unusual among sexual traits because they are under stabilizing selection. R. longicauda males provide females with a nuptial gift before engaging in aerial mating, and the male bears the entire weight of the female and nuptial gift for the duration of copulation. In theory, a male's ability to carry females and nuptial gifts could constrain pairing opportunities for the heaviest females, as reported for non‐ornamented dance flies. In concert with directional preferences for large females with mature eggs, such a load‐lifting constraint could produce the stabilizing selection on female size previously observed in this species. We therefore tested whether wild‐caught male R. longicauda collected during copulation were experiencing load‐lift limitations by comparing the mass carried by males during copulation with the male's wing loading traits. We also performed permutation tests to determine whether the loads carried by males during copulation were lighter than expected. We found that heavier males are more often found mating with heavier females suggesting that while R. longicauda males do not experience a load‐lift constraint, there is a strong relationship of assortative mating by mass. We suggest that active male mate choice for intermediately adorned females is more likely to be causing the non‐random mating patterns observed in R. longicauda.
DOI Link: 10.1111/jeb.13500
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Murray, RL, Gwynne, DT, Bussière, LF. The role of functional constraints in nonrandom mating patterns for a dance fly with female ornaments. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 2019; 32: 984-993, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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