The sexual ornamentation used by male guppies to attract females comprises many components, each of which varies considerably among males. Although natural and sexual selection have been shown to contribute to divergence among populations in male sexual ornaments, the role of sexual selection in maintaining polymorphism within populations is less clear. We used both parametric quadratic regression and nonparametric projection pursuit regression techniques to reveal the major axes of non-linear sexual selection on male ornaments. We visualized the fitness surfaces defined by these axes using thin-plate splines to allow a direct comparison of the two methodologies. Identification of the major axes of selection and their visualization was critical in determining the form and strength of nonlinear selection. Both types of analysis revealed fitness surfaces comprising three peaks, suggesting that there is more than one way to make an attractive guppy. Disruptive selection may be an important process underlying the presence of multiple sexual ornaments and may contribute to the maintenance of the high levels of polymorphism in male sexual ornaments found in guppy populations.
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Vol. 57 • No. 7