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Keywords:

  • body mass;
  • lifetime reproductive success selection;
  • mating success;
  • molecular markers;
  • pedigree;
  • sexual size dimorphism;
  • territoriality;
  • viability-, sexual-, fecundity selection

Abstract

The direction, intensity and shape of viability-, sexual- and fecundity selection on body mass were investigated in a natural population of the greater white-toothed shrew (Crocidura russula), combining parentage assignment through molecular techniques and mark–recapture data over several generations. A highly significant stabilizing viability selection was found in both sexes, presumably stemming from the constraints imposed by their insectivorous habits and high metabolic costs. Sexual selection, directional in both sexes, was twice as large in males than in females. Our results suggest that body mass matters in this context by facilitating the acquisition and defense of a breeding territory. No fecundity selection could be detected. The direction of sexual size dimorphism (SSD) was in agreement with the observed pattern of selective pressures: males were heavier than females, because of stronger sexual selection. SSD intensity, however, was low compared with other mammals, because of the low level of polygyny, the active role of females in territory defense and the intensity of stabilizing viability selection.