• Costs;
  • dominance;
  • metapopulation;
  • polymorphism;
  • trade-off

Polymorphic dispersal strategies are found in many plant and animal species. An important question is how the genetic variation underlying such polymorphisms is maintained. Numerous mechanisms have been discussed, including kin competition or frequency-dependent selection. In the context of sympatric speciation events, genetic and phenotypic variation is often assumed to be preserved by assortative mating. Thus, recently, this has been advocated as a possible mechanism leading to the evolution of dispersal polymorphisms. Here, we examine the role of assortative mating for the evolution of trade-off-driven dispersal polymorphisms by modeling univoltine insect species in a metapopulation. We show that assortative mating does not favor the evolution of polymorphisms. On the contrary, assortative mating favors the evolution of an intermediate dispersal type and a uni-modal distribution of traits within populations. As an alternative, mechanism dominance may explain the occurrence of two discrete morphs.