The relative strength of different types of directional selection has seldom been compared directly in natural populations. A recent meta-analysis of phenotypic selection studies in natural populations suggested that directional sexual selection may be stronger in magnitude than directional natural selection, although this pattern may have partly been confounded by the different time scales over which selection was estimated. Knowledge about the strength of different types of selection is of general interest for understanding how selective forces affect adaptive population divergence and how they may influence speciation. We studied divergent selection on morphology in parapatric, natural damselfly (Calopteryx splendens) populations. Sexual selection was stronger than natural selection measured on the same traits, irrespective of the time scale over which sexual selection was measured. Visualization of the fitness surfaces indicated that population divergence in overall morphology is more strongly influenced by divergent sexual selection rather than natural selection. Courtship success of experimental immigrant males was lower than that of resident males, indicating incipient sexual isolation between these populations. We conclude that current and strong sexual selection promotes adaptive population divergence in this species and that premating sexual isolation may have arisen as a correlated response to divergent sexual selection. Our results highlight the importance of sexual selection, rather than natural selection in the adaptive radiation of odonates, and supports previous suggestions that divergent sexual selection promotes speciation in this group.
Vol. 60 • No. 6
Vol. 60 • No. 6