Complex sexually dimorphic traits shape the parallel evolution of a novel reproductive strategy in Sulawesi ricefishes (Adrianichthyidae)
Pelvic brooding is a form of uni-parental care, and likely evolved in parallel in two lineages of Sulawesi ricefishes. Contrary to all other ricefishes, females of pelvic brooding species do not deposit eggs at a substrate (transfer brooding), but carry them until the fry hatches. We assume that modifications reducing the costs of egg carrying are beneficial for pelvic brooding females, but likely disadvantageous in conspecific males, which might be resolved by the evolution of sexual dimorphism via sexual antagonistic selection. Thus we hypothesize that the evolution of pelvic brooding gave rise to female-specific skeletal adaptations that are shared by both pelvic brooding lineages, but are absent in conspecific males and transfer brooding species. To tackle this, we combine 3D-imaging and morphometrics to analyze skeletal adaptations to pelvic brooding.