The existence of dispersal syndromes contrasting disperser from resident phenotypes within populations has been intensively documented across taxa. However, how such suites of phenotypic traits emerge and are maintained is largely unknown, although deciphering the processes shaping the evolution of dispersal phenotypes is a key in ecology and evolution. In this study, we created artificial populations of a butterfly, in which we controlled for individual phenotypes and measured experimentally the roles of selection and genetic constraints on the correlations between dispersal-related traits: flight performance and wing morphology. We demonstrate that (i) trait covariations are not due to genetic correlations, (ii) the effects of selection are sex-specific, and (iii) both divergent and stabilizing selection maintain specific flight performance phenotypes and wing morphologies. Interestingly, some trait combinations are also favoured, depending on sex and fitness components. Moreover, we provide evidence for the role of (dis)assortative mating in the evolution of these dispersal-related traits. Our results suggest that dispersal syndromes may have high evolutionary potential, but also that they may be easily disrupted under particular environmental conditions.
Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3469890.
- Received July 13, 2016.
- Accepted September 6, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.