Dimorphisms and fluctuating asymmetry in the forceps of male earwigs

Joseph Leopold Tomkins, LW Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Male dimorphisms are particularly conspicuous examples of the alternative reproductive strategies employed within some species. Such dimorphisms are thought to exist as genetic polymorphisms under ESS conditions, or to be conditional strategies where exogenous conditions determine the adult body plan. Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) is currently considered to be a fitness correlate of significant use in interpreting the functional significance of secondary sexual characteristics. In particular, negative slopes of FA on trait size are thought to arise in traits whose expression is dependent on condition. We measured forceps lengths and asymmetries in 2 island populations of the European earwig Forficula auricularia and Museum specimens of 5 other earwig (Dermaptera, Forficulidae) species from different genera, that appeared to be dimorphic. In a detailed study of Forficula auricularia we found a significant fit to a statistical model for the identification of dimorphisms and, for all species examined, morphs differed in the slope and/or elevation of the allometric relationship between body size and forcep length. Possible determinates of male dimorphisms are suggested from the data. Contrary to expectation, FA was not found to be greater in the minor morphs. Negative relationships between FA and forceps length were absent in both morphs of species examined from museum collections. Of the two island populations of Forficula auricularia, the smaller and more isolated population had higher FA and a negative relationship between FA and forceps length in the major morph. We discuss these patterns in the light of recent theories of FA and honest signalling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)753-770
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996

Keywords

  • Dermaptera
  • male dimorphism
  • fluctuating asymmetry
  • allometry
  • earwigs
  • SEXUAL SELECTION
  • MATING SUCCESS
  • MALE COMPETITION
  • DUNG BEETLES
  • PATTERNS
  • COLEOPTERA
  • SCARABAEIDAE
  • SIZE
  • ORNAMENTS
  • SYMMETRY

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