Frequency- and density-dependent sexual selection in natural populations of Galician Littorina saxatilis Olivi
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Galician exposed shore populations of the direct developing periwinkle Littorina saxatilis are strikingly polymorphic, with an ornamented and banded upper shore form and a smooth and unhanded lower shore form. Intermediates between the two pure forms occur in a narrow mid shore zone together with the parental forms. We have previously shown that the two pure forms share the same gene pool but that mating between them is non-random. This is due to a non-random microdistribution in the zone of overlap, and also to assortative mating. In this study we present data which show that intermediate (hybrid) females mate less often than pure females in micropatches dominated by either of the pure forms, but not in micropatches in which the two pure forms are equally common. Thus, sexual fitness in intermediate females depends on the frequency of both pure morphs. Furthermore, sexual selection against intermediate females also varies with the densities of snails within each micro patch. The biological mechanisms which may explain this particular reduction of female hybrid fitness are discussed.
Assortative mating between the pure morphs is sometimes almost complete, while both morphs do not mate the intermediates assortatively. In the light of this, sexual selection against intermediate females may contribute considerably to restrict gene flow between the pure forms.
Key wordsreproductive isolation mating components assortative mating sexual selection fitness estimate
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