The outcome of sexual conflict can depend on the social environment, as males respond to changes in the inclusive fitness payoffs of harmfulness and harm females less when they compete with familiar relatives. Theoretical models also predict that if limited male dispersal predictably enhances local relatedness while maintaining global competition, kin selection can produce evolutionary divergences in male harmfulness among populations. Experimental tests of these predictions, however, are rare. We assessed rates of dispersal in female and male seed beetles Callosobruchus maculatus, a model species for studies of sexual conflict, in an experimental setting. Females dispersed significantly more often than males, but dispersing males travelled just as far as dispersing females. Next, we used experimental evolution to test whether limiting dispersal allowed the action of kin selection to affect divergence in male harmfulness and female resistance. Populations of C. maculatus were evolved for 20 and 25 generations under one of three dispersal regimens: completely free dispersal, limited dispersal and no dispersal. There was no divergence among treatments in female reproductive tract scarring, ejaculate size, mating behaviour, fitness of experimental females mated to stock males or fitness of stock females mated to experimental males. We suggest that this is likely due to insufficient strength of kin selection rather than a lack of genetic variation or time for selection. Limited dispersal alone is therefore not sufficient for kin selection to reduce male harmfulness in this species, consistent with general predictions that limited dispersal will only allow kin selection if local relatedness is independent of the intensity of competition among kin.
No evidence for divergence in male harmfulness or female resistance in response to changes in the opportunity for dispersal
Lymbery, S. (Creator), Wyber, B. (Creator) & Tomkins, J. (Creator), Dryad Digital Repository, 12 Apr 2020