Selection for male weapons boosts female fecundity, eliminating sexual conflict in the bulb mite

Bruno A. Buzatto*, Huon L. Clark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Extreme differences between the sexes are usually explained by intense sexual selection on male weapons or ornaments. Sexually antagonistic genes, with a positive effect on male traits but a negative effect on female fitness, create a negative inter-sexual correlation for fitness (sexual conflict). However, such antagonism might not be apparent if sexually selected male traits are condition-dependent, and condition elevates female fitness. Here we reveal a surprising positive genetic correlation between male weaponry and female fecundity. Using mite lines that had previously been through 13 generations of selection on male weapons (fighting legs), we investigated correlated evolution in female fecundity. Females from lines under positive selection for weapons (up lines) evolved higher fecundity, despite evolving costly, thicker legs. This is likely because male mites have condition-dependent weaponry that increases our ability to indirectly select on male condition. Alleles with positive effects on condition in both sexes could have generated this correlation because: the up lines evolved a higher proportion of fighters and there were positive correlations between weapon size and the male morph and sex ratios of the offspring. This positive inter-sexual genetic correlation should boost the evolution of male weapons and extreme sex differences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2311
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


Dive into the research topics of 'Selection for male weapons boosts female fecundity, eliminating sexual conflict in the bulb mite'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this