Fitness Consequences Of Social Network Position In A Wild Population Of Forked Fungus Beetles (Bolitotherus Cornutus)

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Journal Of Evolutionary Biology


Social networks describe the pattern of intraspecific interactions within a population. An individuals position in a social network often is expected to influence its fitness, but only a few studies have examined this relationship in natural populations. We investigated the fitness consequences of network position in a wild beetle population. Copulation success of male beetles positively covaried with strength (a measure of network centrality) and negatively covaried with clustering coefficient (CC) (a measure of cliquishness). Further analysis using mediation path models suggested that the activity level of individuals drove the relationships between strength and fitness almost entirely. In contrast, selection on CC was not explained by individual behaviours. Although our data suggest that social network position can experience strong sexual selection, it is also clear that the relationships between fitness and some network metrics merely reflect variation in individual-level behaviours.