Sexual selection contributes strongly to the evolution of sexual dimorphism among animal taxa. However, recent comparative analyses have shown that evolution of sexual dimorphism can be influenced by extrinsic factors like mating system and environment, and also that different types of sexual dimorphism may present distinct evolutionary pathways. Investigating the co-variation among different types of sexual dimorphism and their association with environmental factors can therefore provide important information about the mechanisms generating variation in sexual dimorphism among contemporary species. Using phylogenetic comparative analyses comparing 49 species of Tanganyikan cichlid fishes, we first investigated the pairwise relationship between three types of sexual dimorphism [size dimorphism (SSD), colour dimorphism (COD) and shape dimorphism (SHD)] and how they were related to the strength of pre- and post-copulatory sexual selection. We then investigated the influence of ecological features on sexual dimorphism. Our results showed that although SSD was associated with the overall strength of sexual selection it was not related to other types of sexual dimorphism. Also, SSD co-varied with female size and spawning habitat, suggesting a role for female adaptations to spawn in small crevices and shells influencing SSD in this group. Further, COD and SHD were positively associated and both show positive relationships with the strength of sexual selection. Finally, the level of COD and SHD was related to habitat

Tsuboi, M., Gonzalez-Voyer, A., Höglund, J. and Kolm, N. 2012. Ecology and mating competition influence sexual dimorphism in Tanganyikan cichlids. Evolutionary Ecology. 26: 171-185.