Male characters that are used for male-male combat are often developed and exaggerated, whereas female equivalent characters are vestigial or vanished. In order to assess whether the characters common to both sexes share the same phenotypic variability due to common genetic architecture, we compared males and females of the stag beetle Prosopocoilus inclinatus using recently developed geometric morphometric methods. Elliptic Fourier analysis was used to compare shape variation between male characters (including exaggerated mandibles) and developmentally homologous female characters. A significant positive correlation was found between the size or between the weight of different body parts in both sexes, but a conspicuous difference was detected in the frequency distribution of the weight of all the body parts. Elliptic Fourier analysis demonstrated that there was marked discontinuous variation in mandibles in males, whereas such a discontinuity was not clear in females. The shape of a character in males exhibited some similarity with that of other characters, but this was not found in females. In a character, growth trajectory of shape was significantly affected by both size and weight in males, whereas size and shape tended to vary independently in female characters. These results support the hypothesis that a large sexual dimorphism in variation in shape is due to alleles accumulating in tight linkage with a sex-determining gene.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics