Parallel evolution of the sexes? Effects of predation and habitat features on the size and shape of wild guppies


Andrew P. Hendry, Redpath Museum and Department of Biology, McGill University, 859 Sherbrooke St. West, Montréal, Que., Canada QC H3A 2K6.
Tel.: 514 398 4086 ext. 00880; fax: 514 398 3185;


Environmental gradients often lead to the parallel evolution of populations and species. To what extent do such gradients also lead to parallel evolution of the sexes? We used guppies (Poecilia reticulata) to examine the parallel and independent (sex-specific) aspects of population divergence in response to predation and habitat features. Geometric morphometrics was used to analyse size and shape variation for 1335 guppies from 27 to 31 sites sampled in each of 2 years. Body size showed strong parallel population divergence; both sexes were larger at sites with a more open canopy and with higher flow. Body shape showed a mixture of parallel and independent population divergence. The strongest and most consistent effects were (1) high-predation sites had males with smaller heads and deeper caudal peduncles, (2) open-canopy sites had females with smaller heads and more distended abdomens and (3) high-flow sites had males and females with smaller heads and deeper caudal peduncles.