Genetical Research

Research Article

Artificial sexual selection alters allometry in the stalk-eyed fly Cyrtodiopsis dalmanni (Diptera: Diopsidae)

Gerald S. Wilkinsona1

a1 Department of Zoology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA


Selection for increased and decreased ratio of eye span to body length was exerted on male stalk-eyed flies (Cyrtodiopsis dalmanni) from Malaysia using replicate selected and unselected lines. Response to selection was symmetrical. After 10 generations high line male eye span increased to 1·3 body lengths while low line male eye span declined to 1·1 body lengths. Realized heritabilities for eye span to body length ratio, estimated using regressions of deviations from unselected controls on cumulative selection differentials, were greater than zero for all four selected lines with average h2 = 0·35 + 0·06. The static linear allometric relationship between eye span and body length diverged between selected lines and rotated among selected line males in the same direction as among males in other sexually dimorphic diopsid species. Crosses between lines after 13 generations of selection indicate that the genes which influence relative eye span combine additively and do not exhibit sex linkage or maternal effects. The genetic correlation between the sexes, 0·29 + 0·05 as estimated by the regression of female on male change in eye span, did not prevent sexual dimorphism in eye span from diverging between lines. These results suggest that the exaggerated eye span of male C. dalmanni is maintained by natural selection opposing sexual selection rather than by lack of or asymmetry in additive genetic variation. Furthermore, the variation in sexual dimorphism for eye span-body length allometry observed among extant diopsid species is consistent with sexual selection of variable intensity acting on relative eye span.

(Received February 26 1993)

(Revised July 06 1993)