Body size is one of the most important quantitative traits under evolutionary scrutiny. Sexual size dimorphism (SSD) in a given species is expected to result if opposing selection forces equilibrate differently in both sexes. We document variation in the intensity of sexual and fecundity selection, male and female body size, and thus SSD among 31 and 27 populations of the two dung fly species, Scathophaga stercoraria and Sepsis cynipsea, across Switzerland. Whereas in S. cynipsea females are larger, the SSD is reversed in S. stercoraria. We comprehensively evaluated Fairbairn and Preziosi's (1994) general, three-tiered scenario, hypothesizing that sexual selection for large male size is the major driving force of SSD allometry within these two species. Sexual selection intensity on male size in the yellow dung fly, S. stercoraria, was overall positive, greater, and more variable among populations than fecundity selection on females. Also, sexual selection intensity in a given population correlated positively with mean male body size of that population for both the field-caught fathers and their laboratory-reared sons, indicating a response to selection. In S. cynipsea, sexual selection intensity on males was lower overall and significantly positive, about equal in magnitude, but more variable than fecundity selection on females. However, there was no correlation between the intensity of sexual selection and mean male body size among populations. In both species, the laboratory-reared offspring indicate genetic differentiation among populations in body size. Despite fulfillment of all key prerequisites, at least in S. stercoraria, we did not find hypoallometry for SSD (Rensch's rule, i.e., greater evolutionary divergence in male size than female size) for the field-caught parents or the laboratory-reared offspring: Female size was isometric to male size in both species. We conclude that S. cynipsea does not fit some major requirements of Fairbairn and Preziosi's (1994) scenario, whereas for S. stercoraria we found partial support for it. Failure to support Rensch's rule within the latter species may be due to phylogenetic or other constraints, power limitations, erroneous estimates of sexual selection, insufficient genetic isolation of populations, or sex differences in viability selection against large size.
Corresponding Editor: J. Merilä