Intralocus sexual conflict and the tragedy of the commons in seed beetles

David Berger, Ivain Martinossi-Allibert, Karl Grieshop, Martin I. Lind, Alexei A. Maklakov, Göran Arnqvist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


The evolution of male traits that inflict direct harm on females during mating interactions can result in a so-called tragedy of the commons, where selfish male strategies depress population viability. This tragedy of the commons can be magnified by intralocus sexual conflict (IaSC) whenever alleles that reduce fecundity when expressed in females spread in the population because of their benefits in males. We evaluated this prediction by detailed phenotyping of 73 isofemale lines of the seed beetle Callosobruchus maculatus. We quantified genetic variation in life history andmorphology, as well as associated covariance in male and female adult reproductive success. In parallel, we created replicated artificial populations of each line and measured their productivity. Genetic constraints limited independent trait expression in the sexes, and we identified several instances of sexually antagonistic covariance between traits and fitness, signifying IaSC. Population productivity was strongly positively correlated to female adult reproductive success but uncorrelated with male reproductive success. Moreover, male (female) phenotypic optima for several traits under sexually antagonistic selection were exhibited by the genotypes with the lowest (highest) population productivity. Our study forms a direct link between individuallevel sex-specific selection and population demography and places lifehistory traits at the epicenter of these dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E98-E112
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


  • Adaptation
  • Genetic architecture
  • Population demography
  • Sexual antagonism
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Sexual selection

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