Weedon S, Porch N, Symonds MRE (2020) Evolution of male antennal size in moths (Lepidoptera): a comparative test of potential trade-offs and correlated growth in Australian species. Austral Entomology 59: 156-166 PDF

What’s the paper about?

We examined whether a trait involved in pre-copulatory mating success (antennal size) is traded-off against another trait involved in post-copulatory mating success (testes size) in Australian moth species. We found no evidence for this, however we did also look at another sensory trait, eye size, and found a positive correlation with antennal size. That said, there are different evolutionary allometries (the way the sensory traits scale with body size) that suggest different types of investment in the two traits.

What’s the story behind it?

Studying the determinants of antennal size is something I’ve been working on, initially with Mark Elgar, for about 10 years. Sam Weedon came onto this project as an honours student in 2016 (when I was away on sabbatical), and did a fine job (especially considering my reckless abadonment of him during the first 6 months) trapping moths around Victoria and dissecting them. There is actually a lot of work in this paper (field work, identification, micro-dissection, morphological measurements, allometric analyses, phylogenetic comparative analyses) that slightly bely the not overly exciting results. Ah well, sometimes a rolling stone gathers no moths.



One response »

  1. […] A paper by former honours student Sam’s investigating trade-offs between antennal size and testis size in moth species […]

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