Data from: Morphological polymorphism associated with alternative reproductive tactics in a plethodontid salamander
Pierson, Todd Warren et al. (2018), Data from: Morphological polymorphism associated with alternative reproductive tactics in a plethodontid salamander, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.v73r8j9
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 ("searching" 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.