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Artificial Selection on Horn Length-Body Size Allometry in the Horned Beetle Onthophagus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)
Douglas J. Emlen
Vol. 50, No. 3 (Jun., 1996), pp. 1219-1230
Published by: Society for the Study of Evolution
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410662
Page Count: 12
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Males of the horned beetle Onthophagus acuminatus Har. (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) exhibit horn length dimorphism due to a sigmoidal allometric relationship between horn length and body size: the steep slope of the allometry around the inflection of the sigmoid curve separates males into two groups; those larger than this inflection possess long horns, and those smaller than this inflection have short horns or lack horns. I examined the genetic basis of the allometric relationship between horn length and body size by selecting males that produced unusually long horns, and males that produced unusually short horns, for their respective body sizes. After seven generations of selection, lines selected for relatively long horns had significantly longer horn lengths for a given body size than lines selected for relatively short horns, indicating a heritable component to variation in the allometry. The sigmoidal shape of the allometry was not affected by this selection regime. Rather, selected lines differed in the position of the allometry along the body size axis. One consequence of lateral shifts in this allometric relationship was that the body size separating horned from hornless males (the point of inflection of the sigmoid curve) differed between selection lines: lines in which males were selected for relatively long horns began horn production at smaller body sizes than lines selected for relatively short horns. These results suggest that populations can evolve in response to selection on male horn length through modification of the growth relationship between horn length and body size.
Evolution © 1996 Society for the Study of Evolution