Effects of ornamentation and phylogeny on the evolution of wing shape in stalk-eyed flies (Diopsidae)


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Abstract

Exaggerated male ornaments are predicted to be costly to their bearers, but these negative effects may be offset by the correlated evolution of compensatory traits. However, when locomotor systems, such as wings in flying species, evolve to decrease such costs, it remains unclear whether functional changes across related species are achieved via the same morphological route or via alternate changes that have similar function. We conducted a comparative analysis of wing shape in relation to eye-stalk elongation across 24 species of stalk-eyed flies, using geometric morphometrics to determine how species with increased eye span, a sexually selected trait, have modified wing morphology as a compensatory mechanism. Using traditional and phylogenetically informed multivariate analyses of shape in combination with phenotypic trajectory analysis, we found a strong phylogenetic signal in wing shape. However, dimorphic species possessed shifted wing veins with the result of lengthening and narrowing wings compared to monomorphic species. Dimorphic species also had changes that seem unrelated to wing size, but instead may govern wing flexion. Nevertheless, the lack of a uniform, compensatory pattern suggests that stalk-eyed flies used alternative modifications in wing structure to increase wing area and aspect ratio, thus taking divergent morphological routes to compensate for exaggerated eye stalks.

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