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Sex role similarity and sexual selection predict male and female song elaboration and dimorphism in fairy-wrens
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  • Karan Odom,
  • Kristal Cain,
  • Michelle Hall,
  • Naomi Langmore,
  • Raoul Mulder,
  • Sonia Kleindorfer,
  • Jordan Karubian,
  • Lyanne Brouwer,
  • Erik Enbody,
  • John Jones,
  • Jenelle Dowling,
  • Ana Leitão,
  • Emma Greig,
  • Christine Evans,
  • Allison Johnson,
  • Kimberley Meyers,
  • Marcelo Araya-Salas,
  • Michael Webster
Karan Odom
University of Maryland at College Park

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Kristal Cain
The University of Auckland
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Michelle Hall
University of Melbourne
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Naomi Langmore
Australian National University
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Raoul Mulder
University of Melbourne
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Sonia Kleindorfer
Flinders University of South Australia
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Jordan Karubian
Tulane University
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Lyanne Brouwer
Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)
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Erik Enbody
Tulane University
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John Jones
Tulane University
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Jenelle Dowling
University of Montana
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Ana Leitão
University of Melbourne
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Emma Greig
Cornell University
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Christine Evans
Flinders University
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Allison Johnson
University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Biological Sciences
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Kimberley Meyers
University of Melbourne School of BioSciences
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Marcelo Araya-Salas
University of Costa Rica
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Michael Webster
Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
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Historically, bird song complexity was thought to evolve primarily through sexual selection on males, yet in many species both sexes sing. Previous research suggests competition for mates and resources during short, synchronous breeding seasons leads to more elaborate male songs at high latitudes. In contrast, we expect male-female song dimorphism and elaboration to be more similar at lower latitudes because longer breeding seasons and year-round territoriality yield similar social selection pressures in both sexes. However, studies seldom take both selective pressures and sexes into account. We examined song elaboration and sexual dimorphism in 15 populations of nine fairy-wren species (Maluridae), a Southern Hemisphere clade with female song. We compared song elaboration and sexual song dimorphism to latitude and life history variables tied to sexual and social selection pressures and sex roles. Our results suggest that song elaboration evolved in part due to sexual competition in males: male song variability was more positively correlated with temperate breeding and greater breeding synchrony than female song. We also found strong evidence that sex-role similarity contributed to male-female song similarity: male and female songs were shorter and more similar when parental care was more equal and when male survival was high. Contrary to Northern Hemisphere latitudinal patterns, songs were less dimorphic at higher, temperate latitudes. These results suggest that selection on song can be sex-specific, with male song elaboration favored in contexts coincident with sexual selection. However, selection pressures associated with sex-role similarity also appear to constrain sex specific song evolution and song dimorphism.
22 Jun 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
05 Jul 2021Submission Checks Completed
05 Jul 2021Assigned to Editor
05 Jul 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
23 Jul 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
09 Aug 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
06 Oct 20211st Revision Received
07 Oct 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
07 Oct 2021Submission Checks Completed
07 Oct 2021Assigned to Editor
20 Oct 2021Editorial Decision: Accept
Dec 2021Published in Ecology and Evolution volume 11 issue 24 on pages 17901-17919. 10.1002/ece3.8378