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Keywords:

  • body condition;
  • energetics;
  • mammals;
  • Myodes glareolus;
  • selection;
  • sexual antagonism

Abstract

Selection for different fitness optima between sexes is supposed to operate on several traits. As fitness-related traits are often energetically costly, selection should also act directly on the energetics of individuals. However, efforts to examine the relationship between fitness and components of the energy budget are surprisingly scarce. We investigated the effects of basal metabolic rate (BMR, the minimum energy required for basic life functions) and body condition on long-term survival (8 winter months) with manipulated densities in enclosed populations of bank voles (Myodes glareolus). Here, we show that survival selection on BMR was clearly sex-specific but density-independent. Both the linear selection gradient and selection differential for BMR were positive in females, whereas survival did not correlate with male characteristics. Our findings emphasize the relative importance of individual physiology over ecological factors (e.g. intra-specific competition). Most current models of the origin of endothermy underline the importance of metabolic optima in females, whose physiology evolved to fulfil demands of parental provisioning in mammals. Our novel findings of sex-specific selection could be related to these life history differences between sexes.