Testing the correlated response hypothesis for the evolution and maintenance of male mating preferences in Drosophila serrata.

Journal of evolutionary biology

PubMedID: 25078542

Gosden TP, Rundle HD, Chenoweth SF. Testing the correlated response hypothesis for the evolution and maintenance of male mating preferences in Drosophila serrata. J Evol Biol. 2014;.
Mate preferences are abundant throughout the animal kingdom with female preferences receiving the most empirical and theoretical attention. Although recent work has acknowledged the existence of male mate preferences, whether they have evolved and are maintained as a direct result of selection on males or indirectly as a genetically correlated response to selection for female choice remains an open question. Using the native Australian species Drosophila serrata in which mutual mate choice occurs for a suite of contact pheromones (cuticular hydrocarbons or CHCs), we empirically test key predictions of the correlated response hypothesis. First, within the context of a quantitative genetic breeding design, we estimated the degree to which the trait values favoured by male and female choice are similar both phenotypically and genetically. The direction of sexual selection on male and female CHCs differed statistically, and the trait combinations that maximized male and female mating success were not genetically correlated, suggesting that male and female preferences target genetically different signals. Second, despite detecting significant genetic variance in female preferences, we found no evidence for genetic variance in male preferences and, as a consequence, no detectable correlation between male and female mating preferences. Combined, these findings are inconsistent with the idea that male mate choice in D. serrata is simply a correlated response to female choice. Our results suggest that male and female preferences are genetically distinct traits in this species and may therefore have arisen via different evolutionary processes.