Sex-specific associations between life-history traits and a novel reproductive polymorphism in the Pacific field cricket

Jon Richardson, Justa L. Heinen-Kay, Marlene Zuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Associations between heritable polymorphisms and life-history traits, such as development time or reproductive investment, may play an underappreciated role in maintaining polymorphic systems. This is because selection acting on a particular morph could be bolstered or disrupted by correlated changes in life history or vice versa. In a Hawaiian population of the Pacific field cricket (Teleogryllus oceanicus), a novel mutation (flatwing) on the X-chromosome is responsible for a heritable polymorphism in male wing structure. We used laboratory cricket colonies fixed for male wing morph to investigate whether males and females bearing the flatwing or normal-wing (wild-type) allele differed in their life-history traits. We found that flatwing males developed faster and had heavier testes than normal-wings, whereas flatwing homozygous females developed slower and had lighter reproductive tissues than normal-wing homozygous females. Our results advance our understanding of the evolution of polymorphisms by demonstrating that the genetic change responsible for a reproductive polymorphism can also have consequences for fundamental life-history traits in both males and females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-557
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of evolutionary biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are incredibly grateful to Rachel Nichols for her assistance with setting up the experiment. We thank Kristin Robinson, Taren Stanley, Liz Wild, Robin Mullard, Sara de Sobrino and Kristine Jecha for assistance with cricket colony maintenance. We thank three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the manuscript. We are also grateful to funds from the University of Minnesota and the Overseas Research Visit and Conference Fund (ORVCF) and Professional Internship Programme (PIP) made available by the E3/E4 doctoral training partnership at The University of Edinburgh. JR is supported by a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) doctoral training partnership grant (NE/L002558/1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Society for Evolutionary Biology.


  • Teleogryllus oceanicus
  • development time
  • life history
  • reproductive investment
  • reproductive polymorphism


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