Qualitative population divergence in proximate determination of a sexually selected trait in the collared flycatcher

G. Hegyi, J. Török, L. Tóth

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We examined proximate determination of sexually selected forehead patch size in a Central-European population of Ficedula albicollis, the collared flycatcher, using a 9-year database, and compared our results with those obtained in other populations of the same and the sister species. Between-individual variation of forehead patch size was large, its repeatability larger than, and heritability similar to the Swedish population. Unlike in the other populations, the trait proved unaffected by body condition, and only very slightly influenced by age. There was no relationship between forehead patch size and breeding lifespan, and a marginal negative association with survivorship in adult males. Our results suggest that additive genetic variance of the trait in this population is large, but genes act independently of body condition, and there is no viability indicator value of the trait. This is the first report of a qualitative intraspecific difference in proximate determination of a sexually selected trait.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)710-719
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2002



  • Condition-dependence
  • Ficedula albicollis
  • Fisherian sexual selection
  • Plumage colouration
  • Population divergence
  • Viability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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