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Sexual and natural selection on morphological traits in a marine amphipod, Pontogammarus maeoticus (Sowinsky, 1894)
Nahavandi, N.; Plath, M.; Tiedemann, R.; Mirzajani, A.R. (2011). Sexual and natural selection on morphological traits in a marine amphipod, Pontogammarus maeoticus (Sowinsky, 1894). Mar. Biol. Res. 7(2): 135-146.
In: Marine Biology Research. Taylor & Francis: Oslo; Basingstoke. ISSN 1745-1000, more
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  • Nahavandi, N.
  • Plath, M.
  • Tiedemann, R.
  • Mirzajani, A.R.

    Sexual selection often leads to sexual dimorphism, where secondary sexual traits are more expressed in the male sex. This may be due, for example, to increased fighting or mate-guarding abilities of males expressing those traits. We investigated sexually dimorphic traits in four populations of a marine amphipod, Pontogammarus maeoticus (Gammaridea: Pontogammaridae), the most abundant amphipod species in the sublittoral zone along the southern shoreline of the Caspian Sea. Male amphipods are typically larger in body size than females, and have relatively larger posterior gnathopods and antennae. However, it remains to be studied for most other body appendages whether or not, and to what extent, they are sexually dimorphic. Using Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA), we compared the relationships between body size and trait expression for 35 metric characters between males and females, and among the four populations examined by performing three different Discriminant Function Analyses (DFA). We detected several thus far undescribed sexual dimorphic traits such as the seventh peraeopods or the epimeral plates. We also found that the size of the propodus of the first and second gnathopods increases with increasing body size, and this allometric increase was stronger in males than in females. Finally, we found that the degree of sexual dimorphism in the expression of the width of the third epimeral plate varies across sites, suggesting that differences in ecology might affect the strength of sexual selection in different populations.

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