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Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 456605
Title The evolution of the placenta drives a shift in sexual selection in livebearing fish
Author(s) Pollux, B.J.A.; Meredith, R.W.; Springer, M.S.; Garland, T.; Reznick, D.N.
Source Nature 513 (2014). - ISSN 0028-0836 - p. 233 - 236.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/nature13451
Department(s) Experimental Zoology
WIAS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2014
Keyword(s) parent-offspring conflict - molecular phylogenetic-relationships - mosquitofish gambusia-holbrooki - reproductive mode - size dimorphism - poeciliidae cyprinodontiformes - maximum-likelihood - viviparity - hypothesis - gene
Abstract The evolution of the placenta from a non-placental ancestor causes a shift of maternal investment from pre- to post-fertilization, creating a venue for parent–offspring conflicts during pregnancy1, 2, 3, 4. Theory predicts that the rise of these conflicts should drive a shift from a reliance on pre-copulatory female mate choice to polyandry in conjunction with post-zygotic mechanisms of sexual selection2. This hypothesis has not yet been empirically tested. Here we apply comparative methods to test a key prediction of this hypothesis, which is that the evolution of placentation is associated with reduced pre-copulatory female mate choice. We exploit a unique quality of the livebearing fish family Poeciliidae: placentas have repeatedly evolved or been lost, creating diversity among closely related lineages in the presence or absence of placentation5, 6. We show that post-zygotic maternal provisioning by means of a placenta is associated with the absence of bright coloration, courtship behaviour and exaggerated ornamental display traits in males. Furthermore, we found that males of placental species have smaller bodies and longer genitalia, which facilitate sneak or coercive mating and, hence, circumvents female choice. Moreover, we demonstrate that post-zygotic maternal provisioning correlates with superfetation, a female reproductive adaptation that may result in polyandry through the formation of temporally overlapping, mixed-paternity litters. Our results suggest that the emergence of prenatal conflict during the evolution of the placenta correlates with a suite of phenotypic and behavioural male traits that is associated with a reduced reliance on pre-copulatory female mate choice.
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