Alternative reproductive tactics, whereby members of the same sex use different tactics to secure matings, are often associated with conditional intrasexual dimorphisms. Given the different selective pressures on males adopting each mating tactic, intrasexual dimorphism is more likely to arise if phenotypes are genetically uncoupled and free to evolve towards their phenotypic optima. However, in this context, genetic correlations between male morphs could result in intralocus tactical conflict (ITC). We investigated the genetic architecture of male dimorphism in bulb mites (Rhizoglyphus echinopus) and earwigs (Forficula auricularia). We used half-sibling breeding designs to assess the heritability and intra/intersexual genetic correlations of dimorphic and monomorphic traits in each species. We found two contrasting patterns; F. auricularia exhibited low intrasexual genetic correlations for the dimorphic trait, suggesting that the ITC is moving towards a resolution. Meanwhile, R. echinopus exhibited high and significant intrasexual genetic correlations for most traits, suggesting that morphs in the bulb mite may be limited in evolving to their optima. This also shows that intrasexual dimorphisms can evolve despite strong genetic constraints, contrary to current predictions. We discuss the implications of this genetic constraint and emphasize the potential importance of ITC for our understanding of intrasexual dimorphisms.
- alternative phenotypes
- alternative reproductive tactics
- intrasexual dimorphism
- male dimorphism
- phenotypic plasticity