Fernando Benso-Lopes

Fernando Benso-Lopes
Universidade Federal de Santa Maria · Department of Biology

Master of Research


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Publications (3)
Full-text available
In many species, individuals contest resources using specialized morphologies to overpower rivals, hereafter referred to as weapons. Despite their importance in fights, little is known about the selective forces affecting weapon evolution. This may be particularly important to understand why weapons are highly variable among species. Due to their r...
Exaggerated morphologies may increase fitness, but they might be costly to bear; heavy weight, for instance, might hinder locomotion. Evidence supporting these costs are sparse because animals that move on land or swim have traits reducing those costs, called compensatory traits. Animals that walk underwater, however, are under different environmen...


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Project (1)
Sexually selected traits can vary widely in their function, with the most common being ornaments, which are used to attract mates, and weapons, which are used to fights with same-sexed individuals. To achieve their goal of increasing the bearer’s fitness, these traits need to be flashy and/or mechanically efficient, and when combined with high levels of intrassexual competition, environmental and sexual selection pressures, these traits can reach exaggerated sizes and forms. Although exaggeration may increase fitness, it may also impose survival costs to the individual, either via decreased locomotor performance or increased exposure to predators. To mitigate such costs, individuals can present a wide range of morphological/physiological adaptations to counter that cost - the compensatory traits. Aegla longirostri crabs have the left claw adapted for fighting, which means they invest heavily in musculature and size to be able to overcome their opponents in fights. This increased size and weight could impair the male locomotor’s performance even within an aquatic environment. Therefore, given that exaggerated traits may decrease males’ locomotor performance and hence survival, our goal is to test if A. longirostri is morphologically compensating for its’ large and heavy claw.