Myriad species exist where males within the same population display alternative morphologies, often referred to as minors and majors (“lovers and fighters”), that are associated with different ways of gaining access to mates. Their coexistence is typically explained using sexual selection theory. However, other explanations exist, but they have not been explored in great depth yet.*
Lovers and fighters, and how their coexistence affects their evolution within an eco-evolutionary feedback loop
Eco-evolutionary dynamics are well studied but the term is applied to a wide variety of effects and interactions. Yet comparing these different types of studies on eco-evolutionary dynamics will inform on how this field can move forward, which is precisely the aim of a recent British Ecological Society cross-journal Special Feature. Here I discuss a study published within this Special Feature that investigates how an eco-evolutionary feedback loop between population dynamics and fighter expression affects the evolution of alternative reproductive tactics.
Over the last century, a predominant number of biological investigations utilized either model systems or laboratory populations for experimentation. While model organisms are extensively studied from diverse perspectives (genetics, behaviour, life-history, etc.) it would be imprudent to assume new organism-oriented discoveries are behind us. Most recently, Stewart et al. (2018) revealed the existence of a new male type in the laboratory model organism, the bulb mite Rhizoglyphus robini.