Synergistic selection regimens drive the evolution of display complexity in birds of paradise.
1 .Integrated visual displays that combine gesture with colour are nearly ubiquitous in the animal world, where they are shaped by sexua lselection for their role in courtship and competition. However, few studies assess how multiple selection regimens operate on different components of these complex phenotypes on a macroevolutionary scale.
2. Here, we study this issue by assessing how both sexual and ecological selection work together to influence visual display complexity in the birds of paradise.
3. We first find that sexual dichromatism is highest in lekking species, which undergo more intense sexual selection by female choice, than non‐lekking species. At the same time, species in which males directly compete with one another at communal display courts have more carotenoid‐based ornaments and fewer melanin ornaments.
4. Meanwhile, display habitat influences gestural complexity. Species that dance in the cluttered understorey have more complex dances than canopy‐displaying species.
5. Taken together, our results illustrate how distinct selection regimens each operate on individual elements comprising a complex display. This supports a modular model of display evolution, wherein the ultimate integrated display is the product of synergy between multiple factors that select for different types of phenotypic complexity.
M. C. Miles and M. J. Fuxjager. 2018. Journal #AnimalEcology.
Link to paper: https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley ... 2656.12824
Birds of the islands and waters of the South Pacific.
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