Behavioral and morphological traits interact to promote the evolution of alternative reproductive tactics in a lizard

Daniel W A Noble, Kerrie Wechmann, J. Scott Keogh, Martin J. Whiting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)


Alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs) are predicted to be the result of disruptive correlational selection on suites of morphological, physiological, and behavioral traits. ARTs are most obvious when they occur in discrete morphs with concomitant behavioral tactics. However, ARTs driven by behavior in species lacking obvious phenotypic differences are rarely documented and poorly understood. We quantified selection acting on phenotypic traits predicted to characterize ARTs by observing marked lizards in six seminatural populations.We quantified reproductive fitness for each male using six microsatellite DNA loci from 226 offspring born to 56 females. Candidate models containing directional and correlational selection gradients were equally supported. As predicted, large males with large home ranges and large males that were observed frequently had the highest reproductive success. We also found evidence that large males that moved little but that were observed frequently and large males that moved frequently but that were observed little were predicted to have high fitness. Model predictions support our verbal hypothesis regarding the phenotypes characterizing ARTs and suggest that large males may be adopting subtly different tactics to acquire paternity. Our results suggest that disruptive correlational selection between behavioral traits may drive the evolution of ARTs in "cryptic" systems that lack overt polymorphisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-742
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

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