Morphological polymorphism associated with alternative reproductive tactics in a plethodontid salamander

Todd W. Pierson, Jennifer Deitloff, Stanley K. Sessions, Kenneth H. Kozak, Benjamin M. Fitzpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Understanding polymorphism is a central problem in evolution and ecology, and alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs) provide compelling examples for studying the origin and maintenance of behavioral and morphological variation. Much attention has been given to examples where “parasitic” individuals exploit the reproductive investment of “bourgeois” individuals, but some ARTs are instead maintained by environmental heterogeneity, with alternative tactics exhibiting differential fitness in discontinuous reproductive niches. We use genomic, behavioral, karyological, and field observational data to demonstrate one such example in plethodontid salamanders. These ARTs (“search-ing” and “guarding” males) are associated with different reproductive niches and, unlike most other examples in amphibians, demonstrate substantial morphological differences and inflexibility within a reproductive season. Evidence suggests the existence of these ARTs within three putative species in the two-lined salamander (Eurycea bislineata) species complex, with other members of this clade fixed for one of the two tactics. We highlight directions for future research in this system, including the relationship between these ARTs and parental care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)608-618
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Volume193
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

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salamanders and newts
niche
polymorphism
niches
genetic polymorphism
parental care
species complex
amphibian
amphibians
breeding season
genomics
fitness
ecology
salamander
reproductive fitness

Keywords

  • Alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs)
  • Amphibian
  • Eurycea wilderae
  • Mate guarding
  • Morph A

Cite this

Morphological polymorphism associated with alternative reproductive tactics in a plethodontid salamander. / Pierson, Todd W.; Deitloff, Jennifer; Sessions, Stanley K.; Kozak, Kenneth H.; Fitzpatrick, Benjamin M.

In: American Naturalist, Vol. 193, No. 4, 01.04.2019, p. 608-618.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Pierson, Todd W. ; Deitloff, Jennifer ; Sessions, Stanley K. ; Kozak, Kenneth H. ; Fitzpatrick, Benjamin M. / Morphological polymorphism associated with alternative reproductive tactics in a plethodontid salamander. In: American Naturalist. 2019 ; Vol. 193, No. 4. pp. 608-618.
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