Rapid changes in the sex linkage of male coloration in introduced guppy populations.
Theory predicts that the sex linkage of sexually selected traits can influence the direction and rate of evolution and should itself evolve in response to sex-specific selection. Some studies have found intraspecific differences in sex linkage associated with differences in selection pressures, but we know nothing about how fast these differences can evolve. Here we show that introduced guppy populations showing rapid evolution of male coloration also show rapid changes in sex-linkage patterns. A comparison, using hormonal manipulations in females, of introduced populations of different ages suggests a consistent increase of autosomal or X-linked coloration 2 years after introduction from high- to low-predation environments. Twenty years after introduction, populations already show the same pattern of coloration inheritance typical of natural low-predation populations in similar habitats. These results highlight that the contemporary evolution of sexually selected traits ought to be studied in concert with contemporary changes in linkage relationships.