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Variation in temperature can affect the expression of a variety of important fitness-related behaviors, including those involved with mate attraction and selection, with consequences for the coordination of mating across variable environments. We examined how temperature influences the expression of male mating signals and female mate preferences-as well as the relationship between how male signals and female mate preferences change across temperatures (signal-preference temperature coupling)-in Enchenopa binotata treehoppers. These small plant-feeding insects communicate using plant-borne vibrations, and our field surveys indicate they experience significant natural variation in temperature during the mating season. We tested for signal-preference temperature coupling in four populations of E. binotata by manipulating temperature in a controlled laboratory environment. We measured the frequency of male signals-the trait for which females show strongest preference-and female peak preference-the signal frequency most preferred by females-across a range of biologically relevant temperatures (18˚ C -36˚ C). We found a strong effect of temperature on both male signals and female preferences, which generated signal-preference temperature coupling within each population. Even in a population in which male signals mismatched female preferences, the temperature coupling reinforces predicted directional selection across all temperatures. Additionally, we found similar thermal sensitivity in signals and preferences across populations even though populations varied in the mean frequency of male signals and female peak preference. Together, these results suggest that temperature variation should not affect the action of sexual selection via female choice, but rather should reinforce stabilizing selection in populations with signal-preference matches, and directional selection in those with signal-preference mismatches. Finally, we do not predict that thermal variation will disrupt the coordination of mating in this species by generating signal-preference mismatches at thermal extremes This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of evolutionary biology
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The selection or choice of sexual partner in animals. Often this reproductive preference is based on traits in the potential mate, such as coloration, size, or behavioral boldness. If the chosen ones are genetically different from the rejected ones, then NATURAL SELECTION is occurring.
Sexual attraction or relationship between females.
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