Intralocus tactical conflict: genetic correlations between fighters and sneakers of the dung beetle Onthophagus taurus

B. A. Buzatto*, J. S. Kotiaho, J. L. Tomkins, L. W. Simmons

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Males and females differ in their phenotypic optima for many traits, and as the majority of genes are expressed in both sexes, some alleles can be beneficial to one sex but harmful to the other (intralocus sexual conflict; ISC). ISC theory has recently been extended to intrasexual dimorphisms, where certain alleles may have opposite effects on the fitness of males of different morphs that employ alternative reproductive tactics (intralocus tactical conflict; ITC). Here, we use a half-sib breeding design to investigate the genetic basis for ISC and ITC in the dung beetle Onthophagus taurus. We found positive heritabilities and intersexual genetic correlations for almost all traits investigated. Next, we calculated the intrasexual genetic correlation between males of different morphs for horn length, a sexually selected trait, and compared it to intrasexual correlations for naturally selected traits in both sexes. Intrasexual genetic correlations did not differ significantly between the sexes or between naturally and sexually selected traits, failing to support the hypothesis that horns present a reduction of intrasexual genetic correlations due to ITC. We discuss the implications for the idea of developmental reprogramming between male morphs and emphasize the importance of genetic correlations as constraints for the evolution of dimorphisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)730-738
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • alternative reproductive tactics
  • conditional strategy
  • intrasexual dimorphism
  • male dimorphism
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • polyphenism
  • quantitative genetics


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