Sexual Selection (sexual + selection)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Life Sciences

Kinds of Sexual Selection

  • directional sexual selection
  • strong sexual selection

  • Terms modified by Sexual Selection

  • sexual selection theory

  • Selected Abstracts


    EVOLUTION, Issue 7 2009
    Adam G. Jones
    Bateman's classic paper on fly mating systems inspired quantitative study of sexual selection but also resulted in much debate and confusion. Here, I consider the meaning of Bateman's principles in the context of selection theory. Success in precopulatory sexual selection can be quantified as a "mating differential," which is the covariance between trait values and relative mating success. The mating differential is converted into a selection differential by the Bateman gradient, which is the least squares regression of relative reproductive success on relative mating success. Hence, a complete understanding of precopulatory sexual selection requires knowledge of two equally important aspects of mating patterns: the mating differential, which requires a focus on mechanisms generating covariance between trait values and mating success, and the Bateman gradient, which requires knowledge of the genetic mating system. An upper limit on the magnitude of the selection differential on any sexually selected trait is given by the product of the standard deviation in relative mating success and the Bateman gradient. This latter view of the maximum selection differential provides a clearer focus on the important aspects of precopulatory sexual selection than other methods and therefore should be an important part of future studies of sexual selection. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 4 2009
    Helen S. Crudgington
    Sexual selection theory makes clear predictions regarding male spermatogenic investment. To test these predictions we used experimental sexual selection in Drosophila pseudoobscura, a sperm heteromorphic species in which males produce both fertile and sterile sperm, the latter of which may function in postmating competition. Specifically, we determined whether the number and size of both sperm types, as well as relative testis mass and accessory gland size, increased with increased sperm competition risk and whether any fitness benefits could accrue from such changes. We found no effect of sexual selection history on either the number or size of either sperm morph, or on relative testis mass. However, males experiencing a greater opportunity for sexual selection evolved the largest accessory glands, had the greatest mating capacity, and sired the most progeny. These findings suggest that sterile sperm are not direct targets of sexual selection and that accessory gland size, rather than testis mass, appears to be an important determinant of male reproductive success. We briefly review the data from experimental sexual selection studies and find that testis mass may not be a frequent target of postcopulatory sexual selection and, even when it is, the resulting changes do not always improve fitness. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 3 2009
    Michael C. Whitlock
    Healthy males are likely to have higher mating success than unhealthy males because of differential expression of condition-dependent traits such as mate searching intensity, fighting ability, display vigor, and some types of exaggerated morphological characters. We therefore expect that most new mutations that are deleterious for overall fitness may also be deleterious for male mating success. From this perspective, sexual selection is not limited to influencing those genes directly involved in exaggerated morphological traits but rather affects most, if not all, genes in the genome. If true, sexual selection can be an important force acting to reduce the frequency of deleterious mutations and, as a result, mutation load. We review the literature and find various forms of indirect evidence that sexual selection helps to eliminate deleterious mutations. However, direct evidence is scant, and there are almost no data available to address a key issue: is selection in males stronger than selection in females? In addition, the total effect of sexual selection on mutation load is complicated by possible increases in mutation rate that may be attributable to sexual selection. Finally, sexual selection affects population fitness not only through mutation load but also through sexual conflict, making it difficult to empirically measure how sexual selection affects load. Several lines of enquiry are suggested to better fill large gaps in our understanding of sexual selection and its effect on genetic load. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 3 2009
    Josef C. Uyeda
    Quantitative genetic models of sexual selection have generally failed to provide a direct connection to speciation and to explore the consequences of finite population size. The connection to speciation has been indirect because the models have treated only the evolution of male and female traits and have stopped short of modeling the evolution of sexual isolation. In this article we extend Lande's (1981) model of sexual selection to quantify predictions about the evolution of sexual isolation and speciation. Our results, based on computer simulations, support and extend Lande's claim that drift along a line of equilibria can rapidly lead to sexual isolation and speciation. Furthermore, we show that rapid speciation can occur by drift in populations of appreciable size (Ne, 1000). These results are in sharp contrast to the opinion of many researchers and textbook writers who have argued that drift does not play an important role in speciation. We argue that drift may be a powerful amplifier of speciation under a wide variety of modeling assumptions, even when selection acts directly on female mating preferences. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 10 2008
    Leigh W. Simmons
    Sexual selection is thought to favor the evolution of secondary sexual traits in males that contribute to mating success. In species where females mate with more than one male, sexual selection also continues after copulation in the form of sperm competition and cryptic female choice. Theory suggests that sperm competition should favor traits such as testes size and sperm production that increase a male's competitive fertilization success. Studies of experimental evolution offer a powerful approach for assessing evolutionary responses to variation in sexual selection pressures. Here we removed sexual selection by enforcing monogamy on replicate lines of a naturally polygamous horned beetle, Onthophagus taurus, and monitoring male investment in their testes for 21 generations. Testes size decreased in monogamous lines relative to lines in which sexual selection was allowed to continue. Differences in testes size were dependent on selection history and not breeding regime. Males from polygamous lines also had a competitive fertilization advantage when in sperm competition with males from monogamous lines. Females from polygamous lines produced sons in better condition, and those from monogamous lines increased their sons condition by mating polygamously. Rather than being costly for females, multiple mating appears to provide females with direct and/or indirect benefits. Neither body size nor horn size diverged between our monogamous and polygamous lines. Our data show that sperm competition does drive the evolution of testes size in onthophagine beetles, and provide general support for sperm competition theory. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 9 2008
    Matthew D. Hall
    Sexual interactions are often rife with conflict. Conflict between members of the same sex over opportunities to mate has long been understood to effect evolution via sexual selection. Although conflict between males and females is now understood to be widespread, such conflict is seldom considered in the same light as a general agent of sexual selection. Any interaction between males or females that generates variation in fitness, whether due to conflict, competition or mate choice, can potentially influence sexual selection acting on a range of male traits. Here we seek to address a lack of direct experimental evidence for how sexual conflict influences sexual selection more broadly. We manipulate a major source of sexual conflict in the black field cricket, Teleogryllus commodus, and quantify the resulting changes in the nature of sexual selection using formal selection analysis to statistically compare multivariate fitness surfaces. In T. commodus, sexual conflict occurs over the attachment time of an external spermatophore. By experimentally manipulating the ability of males and females to influence spermatophore attachment, we found that sexual conflict significantly influences the opportunity, form, and intensity of sexual selection on male courtship call and body size. When males were able to harass females, the opportunity for selection was smaller, the form of selection changed, and sexual selection was weaker. We discuss the broader evolutionary implications of these findings, including the contributions of sexual conflict to fluctuating sexual selection and the maintenance of additive genetic variation. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 7 2008
    Leonardo D. Bacigalupe
    Sexual selection requires social interactions, particularly between the sexes. When trait expression is influenced by social interactions, such traits are called interacting phenotypes and only recently have the evolutionary consequences of interacting phenotypes been considered. Here we investigated how variation in relative fitness, or the opportunity for sexual selection, affected the evolutionary trajectories of interacting phenotypes. We used experimentally evolved populations of the naturally promiscuous Drosophila pseudoobscura, in which the numbers of potential interactions between the sexes, and therefore relative fitness, were manipulated by altering natural levels of female promiscuity. We considered two different mating interactions between the sexes: mating speed and copulation duration. We investigated the evolutionary trajectories of means and (co)variances (P) and also the influence of genetic drift on the evolutionary response of these interactions. Our sexual selection treatments did not affect the means of either mating speed or copulation duration, but they did affect P. We found that the means of both traits differed among replicates within each selection treatment whereas the Ps did not. Changes as a consequence of genetic drift were excluded. Our results show that although variable potential strengths of sexual interactions influence the evolution of interacting phenotypes, the influence may be nonlinear. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 6 2008
    Simone Immler
    Sperm competition is an important force driving the evolution of sperm design and function. Inter- and intraspecific variation in sperm design are strongly influenced by the risk of sperm competition in many taxa. In contrast, the variation among sperm of one male (intramale variation) is less well understood. We investigated intramale variation in sperm design in passerine birds and found that risk of sperm competition is negatively associated with intramale variation. This result is the first clear evidence that variation among sperm within an individual male is influenced by postcopulatory sexual selection. Our finding has important implications for male traits under pre- and postcopulatory sexual selection. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 5 2008
    Ryan Calsbeek
    Males and females share most of their genetic material yet often experience very different selection pressures. Some traits that are adaptive when expressed in males may therefore be maladaptive when expressed in females. Recent studies demonstrating negative correlations in fitness between parents and their opposite-sex progeny suggest that natural selection may favor a reduction in trait correlations between the sexes to partially mitigate intralocus sexual conflict. We studied sex-specific forms of selection acting in Anolis lizards in the Greater Antilles, a group for which the importance of natural selection has been well documented in species-level diversification, but for which less is known about sexual selection. Using the brown anole (Anolis sagrei), we measured fitness-related variation in morphology (body size), and variation in two traits reflecting whole animal physiological condition: running endurance and immune function. Correlations between body size and physiological traits were opposite between males and females and the form of natural selection acting on physiological traits significantly differed between the sexes. Moreover, physiological traits in progeny were correlated with the body-size of their sires, but correlations were null or even negative between parents and their opposite-sex progeny. Although results based on phenotypic and genetic correlations, as well as the action of natural selection, suggest the potential for intralocus sexual conflict, females used sire body size as a cue to sort sperm for the production of either sons or daughters. Our results suggest that intralocus sexual conflict may be at least partly resolved through post-copulatory sperm choice in A. sagrei. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 4 2008
    Nathaniel P. Sharp
    Deleterious alleles constantly enter populations via mutation. Their presence reduces mean fitness and may threaten population persistence. It has been suggested that sexual selection may be an efficient way by which deleterious alleles are removed from populations but there is little direct experimental evidence. Because of its potential role in mutational meltdowns, there is particular interest in whether the strength of sexual selection changes with density. For each of eight visible markers in Drosophila melanogaster we have compared the strength of sexual selection at two densities. We find evidence of strong sexual selection against most but not all of these alleles. There is no evidence that sexual selection tends to be stronger (or weaker) at high density relative to low density. In addition, we also measure the effects of these mutations on two key parameters relevant to population productivity,juvenile viability and female fecundity. In most cases, sexual selection is as strong or stronger than these other forms of selection. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 2 2008
    Kurt A. McKean
    The evolution of immune function depends not only on variation in genes contributing directly to the immune response, but also on genetic variation in other traits indirectly affecting immunocompetence. In particular, sexual selection is predicted to trade-off with immunocompetence because the extra investment of resources needed to increase sexual competitiveness reduces investment in immune function. Additional possible immunological consequences of intensifying sexual selection include an exaggeration of immunological sexual dimorphism, and the reduction of condition-dependent immunological costs due to selection of ,good genes' (the immunocompetence handicap hypothesis, ICHH). We tested for these evolutionary possibilities by increasing sexual selection in laboratory populations of Drosophila melanogaster for 58 generations by reestablishing a male-biased sex ratio at the start of each generation. Sexually selected flies were larger, took longer to develop, and the males were more sexually competitive than males from control (equal sex ratio) lines. We found support for the trade-off hypothesis: sexually selected males were found to have reduced immune function compared to control males. However, we found no evidence that sexual selection promoted immunological sexual dimorphism because females showed a similar reduction in immune function. We found no evidence of evolutionary changes in the condition-dependent expression of immunocompetence contrary to the expectations of the ICHH. Lastly, we compared males from the unselected base population that were either successful (IS) or unsuccessful (IU) in a competitive mating experiment. IS males showed reduced immune function relative to IU males, suggesting that patterns of phenotypic correlation largely mirror patterns of genetic correlation revealed by the selection experiment. Our results suggest increased disease susceptibility could be an important cost limiting increases in sexual competitiveness in populations experiencing intense sexual selection. Such costs may be particularly important given the high intersex correlation, because this represents an apparent genetic conflict, preventing males from reaching their sexually selected optimum. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 9 2007
    Michael S. Webster
    Many socially monogamous species paradoxically show signs of strong sexual selection, suggesting cryptic sources of sexual competition among males. Darwin argued that sexual selection could operate in monogamous systems if breeding sex ratios are biased or if some males attract highly fecund females. Alternatively, sexual selection might result from promiscuous copulations outside the pair bond, although several recent studies have cast doubt on this possibility, in particular by showing that variance in apparent male reproductive success (number of social young) differs little from variance in actual male reproductive success (number of young sired). Our results from a long-term study of the socially monogamous splendid fairy-wren (Malurus splendens) demonstrate that such comparisons are misleading and do not adequately assess the effects of extra-pair paternity (EPP). By partitioning the opportunity for selection and calculating Bateman gradients, we show that EPP has a strong effect on male annual and lifetime fitness, whereas other proposed mechanisms of sexual selection do not. Thus, EPP drives sexual selection in this, and possibly other, socially monogamous species. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 9 2005
    Hanna Kokko
    Abstract Much of the theory of sexual selection assumes that females do not generally experience difficulties getting their eggs fertilized, yet sperm limitation is occasionally documented. How often does male limitation form a selection for female traits that improve their mating rate? The question is difficult to test, because if such traits evolve to be efficient, sperm limitation will no longer appear to be a problem to females. Here, we suggest that changes in choosiness between populations, and in particular between virgin and mated females, offer an efficient way to test this hypothesis. We model the "wallflower effect," that is, changes in female preferences due to time and mortality costs of remaining unmated (for at least some time). We show that these costs cause adaptive reductions of female choice, even if mate encounter rates appear high and females only rarely end their lives unfertilized. We also consider the population consequences of plastic or fixed mate preferences at different mate encounter rates. If mate choice is plastic, we confirm earlier verbal models that virgins should mate relatively indiscriminately, but plastic increase of choosiness in later matings can compensate and intensify sexual selection on the male trait, particularly if there is last male sperm precedence. Plastic populations will cope well with unusual conditions: eagerness of virgins leads to high reproductive output and a relaxation of sexual selection at low population densities. If females lack such plasticity, however, population-wide reproductive output may be severely reduced, whereas sexual selection on male traits remains strong. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 5 2005
    Douglas J. Emlen
    Abstract Both ornaments and weapons of sexual selection frequently exhibit prolific interspecific diversity of form. Yet, most studies of this diversity have focused on ornaments involved with female mate choice, rather than on the weapons of male competition. With few exceptions, the mechanisms of divergence in weapon morphology remain largely unexplored. Here, we characterize the evolutionary radiation of one type of weapon: beetle horns. We use partial sequences from four nuclear and three mitochondrial genes to develop a phylogenetic hypothesis for a worldwide sample of 48 species from the dung beetle genus Onthophagus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). We then use these data to test for multiple evolutionary origins of horns and to characterize the evolutionary radiation of horns. Although our limited sampling of one of the world's most species-rich genera almost certainly underestimates the number of evolutionary events, our phylogeny reveals prolific evolutionary lability of these exaggerated sexually selected weapons (more than 25 separate gains and losses of five different horn types). We discuss these results in the context of the natural history of these beetles and explore ways that sexual selection and ecology may have interacted to generate this extraordinary diversity of weapon morphology. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 4 2005
    Robert Brooks
    Abstract Stabilizing selection is a fundamental concept in evolutionary biology. In the presence of a single intermediate optimum phenotype (fitness peak) on the fitness surface, stabilizing selection should cause the population to evolve toward such a peak. This prediction has seldom been tested, particularly for suites of correlated traits. The lack of tests for an evolutionary match between population means and adaptive peaks may be due, at least in part, to problems associated with empirically detecting multivariate stabilizing selection and with testing whether population means are at the peak of multivariate fitness surfaces. Here we show how canonical analysis of the fitness surface, combined with the estimation of confidence regions for stationary points on quadratic response surfaces, may be used to define multivariate stabilizing selection on a suite of traits and to establish whether natural populations reside on the multivariate peak. We manufactured artificial advertisement calls of the male cricket Teleogryllus commodus and played them back to females in laboratory phonotaxis trials to estimate the linear and nonlinear sexual selection that female phonotactic choice imposes on male call structure. Significant nonlinear selection on the major axes of the fitness surface was convex in nature and displayed an intermediate optimum, indicating multivariate stabilizing selection. The mean phenotypes of four independent samples of males, from the same population as the females used in phonotaxis trials, were within the 95% confidence region for the fitness peak. These experiments indicate that stabilizing sexual selection may play an important role in the evolution of male call properties in natural populations of T. commodus. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 1 2005
    Russell Bonduriansky
    Abstract The hypothesis that sexual selection drives the evolution of condition dependence is not firmly supported by empirical evidence, and the process remains poorly understood. First, even though sexual competition typically involves multiple traits, studies usually compare a single sexual trait with a single "control" trait, ignoring variation among sexual traits and raising the possibility of sampling bias. Second, few studies have addressed the genetic basis of condition dependence. Third, even though condition dependence is thought to result from a form of sex-specific epistasis, the evolution of condition dependence has never been considered in relation to intralocus sexual conflict. We argue that condition dependence may weaken intersexual genetic correlations and facilitate the evolution of sexual dimorphism. To address these questions, we manipulated an environmental factor affecting condition (larval diet) and examined its effects on four sexual and four nonsexual traits in Prochyliza xanthostoma adults. As predicted by theory, the strength of condition dependence increased with degree of exaggeration among male traits. Body shape was more condition dependent in males than in females and, perhaps as a result, genetic and environmental effects on body shape were congruent in males, but not in females. However, of the four male sexual traits, only head length was significantly larger in high-condition males after controlling for body size. Strong condition dependence was associated with reduced intersexual genetic correlation. However, homologous male and female traits exhibited correlated responses to condition, suggesting an intersexual genetic correlation for condition dependence itself. Our findings support the role of sexual selection in the evolution of condition dependence, but reveal considerable variation in condition dependence among sexual traits. It is not clear whether the evolution of condition dependence has mitigated or exacerbated intralocus sexual conflict in this species. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 5 2004
    Maria R. Servedio
    Abstract Although reinforcement is ostensibly driven by selection against hybrids, there are often other components in empirical cases and theoretical models of reinforcement that may contribute to premating isolation. One of these components is local adaptation of a trait used in mate choice. I use several different comparisons to assess the roles that local adaptation and selection against hybrids may play in reinforcement models. Both numerical simulations of exact recursion equations and analytical weak selection approximations are employed. I find that selection against hybrids may play a small role in driving preference evolution in a reinforcement model where the mating cue is separate from loci causing hybrid incompatibilities. When females have preferences directly for purebreds of their own population, however, selection against hybrids can play a large role in premating isolation evolution. I present some situations in which this type of selection is likely to exist. This work also illustrates shortfalls of using a weak selection approach to address questions about reinforcement. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 2 2004
    A. Cordero Rivera
    Abstract Postmating sexual selection theory predicts that in allopatry reproductive traits diverge rapidly and that the resulting differentiation in these traits may lead to restrictions to gene flow between populations and, eventually, reproductive isolation. In this paper we explore the potential for this premise in a group of damselflies of the family Calopterygidae, in which postmating sexual mechanisms are especially well understood. Particularly, we tested if in allopatric populations the sperm competition mechanisms and genitalic traits involved in these mechanisms have indeed diverged as sexual selection theory predicts. We did so in two different steps. First, we compared the sperm competition mechanisms of two allopatric populations of Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis (one Italian population studied here and one Spanish population previously studied). Our results indicate that in both populations males are able to displace spermathecal sperm, but the mechanism used for sperm removal between both populations is strikingly different. In the Spanish population males seem to empty the spermathecae by stimulating females, whereas in the Italian population males physically remove sperm from the spermathecae. Both populations also exhibit differences in genital morphometry that explain the use of different mechanisms: the male lateral processes are narrower than the spermathecal ducts in the Italian population, which is the reverse in the Spanish population. The estimated degree of phenotypic differentiation between these populations based on the genitalic traits involved in sperm removal was much greater than the differentiation based on a set of other seven morphological variables, suggesting that strong directional postmating sexual selection is indeed the main evolutionary force behind the reproductive differentiation between the studied populations. In a second step, we examined if a similar pattern in genital morphometry emerge in allopatric populations of this and other three species of the same family (Calopteryx splendens, C. virgo and Hetaerina cruentata). Our results suggest that there is geographic variation in the sperm competition mechanisms in all four studied species. Furthermore, genitalic morphology was significantly divergent between populations within species even when different populations were using the same copulatory mechanism. These results can be explained by probable local coadaptation processes that have given rise to an ability or inability to reach and displace spermathecal sperm in different populations. This set of results provides the first direct evidence of intraspecific evolution of genitalic traits shaped by postmating sexual selection. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 6 2003
    Abstract., Traditional models of sexual selection propose that partner choice increases both average male and average female fitness in a population. Recent theoretical and empirical work, however, has stressed that sexual conflict may be a potent broker of sexual selection. When the fitness interests of males and females diverge, a reproductive strategy that increases the fitness of one sex may decrease the fitness of the other sex. The chase-away hypothesis proposes that sexual conflict promotes sexually antagonistic, rather than mutualistic, coevolution, whereby manipulative reproductive strategies in one sex are counteracted by the evolution of resistance to such strategies in the other sex. In this paper, we consider the criteria necessary to demonstrate the chase-away hypothesis. Specifically, we review sexual conflict with particular emphasis on the chase-away hypothesis; discuss the problems associated with testing the predictions of the chase-away hypothesis and the extent to which these predictions and the predictions of traditional models of sexual selection are mutually exclusive; discuss misconceptions and mismeasures of sexual conflict; and suggest an alternative approach to demonstrate sexual conflict, measure the intensity of sexually antagonistic selection in a population, and elucidate the coevolutionary trajectories of the sexes. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 9 2002
    Therese Ann Markow
    Abstract., As commonly observed among closely related species within a variety of taxa, Drosophila species differ considerably in whether they exhibit sexual dimorphism in coloration or morphology. Those Drosophila species in which male external sexual characters are minimal or absent tend, instead, to have exaggerated ejaculate traits such as sperm gigantism or seminal nutrient donations. Underlying explanations for the interspecific differences in the presence of external morphological sexual dimorphism versus exaggerated ejaculate traits are addressed here by examining the opportunity for sexual selection on males to occur before versus after mating in 21 species of Drosophila. Female remating frequency, an important component of the operational sex ratio, differs widely among Drosophila species and appears to dictate whether the arena of sexual selection is prior to, as opposed to after, copulation. Infrequent female mating results in fewer mating opportunities for males and thus stronger competition for receptive females that favors the evolution of male characters that maximize mating success. On the other hand, rapid female remating results in overlapping ejaculates in the female reproductive tract, such that ejaculate traits which enhance fertilization success are favored. The strong association between female remating frequency in a given species and the presence of sexually selected external versus internal male characters indicates that the relationship be examined in other taxa as well. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 6 2000
    Michael C. Whitlock
    Abstract With a small effective population size, random genetic drift is more important than selection in determining the fate of new alleles. Small populations therefore accumulate deleterious mutations. Left unchecked, the effect of these fixed alleles is to reduce the reproductive capacity of a species, eventually to the point of extinction. New beneficial mutations, if fixed by selection, can restore some of this lost fitness. This paper derives the overall change in fitness due to fixation of new deleterious and beneficial alleles, as a function of the distribution of effects of new mutations and the effective population size. There is a critical effective size below which a population will on average decline in fitness, but above which beneficial mutations allow the population to persist. With reasonable estimates of the relevant parameters, this critical effective size is likely to be a few hundred. Furthermore, sexual selection can act to reduce the fixation probability of deleterious new mutations and increase the probability of fixing new beneficial mutations. Sexual selection can therefore reduce the risk of extinction of small populations. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 3 2000
    Troy Day
    Abstract., Models of Fisher's runaway process show that if there is a cost to female preference, no preference or male trait exaggeration will evolve. Surprisingly, this is true no matter how small the cost, which reveals that these models of Fisher's process are structurally unstable (Bulmer 1989). Here a model of Fisher's runaway process is presented to demonstrate that costly female preference evolves very easily when space is explicitly included in the model. The only requirement is that the optimal male phenotype changes across the species' range. The model shows that the spatial average of the female preference and male trait reach an evolutionary equilibrium that is identical to those of nonspatial models, but that the preference and male trait can deviate greatly from these averages at any point in space. For example, if random mating results in the lowest cost to females, then at equilibrium the spatial average preference will be zero. Nevertheless, there will be some locations at which females prefer males with larger ornaments and others where they prefer males with smaller ornaments. Results also show that the structural instability of nonspatial models of Fisher's process is less of a problem in spatial models. In particular, many of the main qualitative features of cost-free spatial models of Fisher's process remain valid even when there are small costs of female preference. Finally, the model shows that abrupt changes in the optimal male phenotype across space can result in an amplification of this pattern when preference has a small cost, but it can also result in a pattern similar to reproductive character displacement. Which of these occurs depends on the magnitude of the cost of female preference. This suggests that some patterns of reproductive character displacement in nature might be explained simply by sexual selection rather than by hybrid dysgenesis and reinforcement. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 1 2000
    J. Albert C. Uy
    Abstract., Sexual selection driving display trait divergence has been suggested as a cause of rapid speciation, but there is limited supporting evidence for this from natural populations. Where speciation by sexual selection has occurred in newly diverged populations, we expect that there will be significant differences in female preferences and corresponding male display traits in the absence of substantial genetic and other morphological differentiation. Two allopatric populations of the Vogelkop bowerbird, Amblyornis inornatus, show large, qualitative differences in a suite of display traits including bower structure and decorations. We experimentally demonstrate distinct male decoration color preferences within each population, provide direct evidence of female preferences for divergent decoration and bower traits in the population with more elaborate display, and show that there is minimal genetic differentiation between these populations. These results support the speciation by sexual selection hypothesis and are most consistent with the hypothesis that changes in male display have been driven by divergent female choice. [source]

    Fluctuating Asymmetry, Sexual Selection, and Survivorship in Male Dark-Winged Damselflies

    ETHOLOGY, Issue 9 2002
    Michelle L. Beck
    We examined fluctuating asymmetry and morphology as they relate to reproductive success, territoriality, and relative survivorship in the dark-winged damselfly Calopteryx maculata. Fluctuating asymmetry was not correlated with any aspect of morphology in males, but it did predict mating status in males. Mating males showed significantly lower levels of forewing asymmetry than did non-mating males holding adjacent territories. While fluctuating asymmetry did not relate to survivorship or resource holding ability, body size did. Larger males were able to hold territories longer and lived longer than smaller individuals. We suggest that size is of greater importance in this species with regards to fitness and that fluctuating asymmetry may play a minor role by impacting short-term mating success. [source]

    Female Choice, Female Reluctance to Mate and Sexual Selection on Body Size in the Dung Fly Sepsis cynipsea

    ETHOLOGY, Issue 7 2000
    Wolf U. Blanckenhorn
    We investigated the mechanisms of sexual selection in the common dung fly Sepsis cynipsea and how these affect selection on body size at the population level. Because of the presumed costs associated with mating, we predicted that there would be a decrease in the general reluctance of females to mate with any particular male at higher male densities at the mating site, a fresh cow pat, resulting in indirect female choice and a decrease in the strength of sexual selection. In contrast, classical direct female choice and male-male competition should result in increased selection intensities because more opportunities for choice and competition exist at higher densities. Female reluctance to mate and female assessment of males are expressed in prominent female behaviour to repel mates in several insect species, including S. cynipsea. Laboratory pair-wise choice experiments showed that large males were more likely to obtain copulations, which also ensued more promptly, suggesting female assessment of male quality (direct female choice). There was a basic influence of male activity but little further effect of male scramble competition on the outcome of mating. Another laboratory experiment showed a decrease in female shaking duration per male, associated with an asymptote in the shaking duration per female, as male density and harassment increased, but did not show the increase in mating frequency predicted by the female reluctance hypothesis. A study estimating sexual selection differentials in the field showed that directional selection for larger males was present overall and was negatively related to seasonally mediated variation in male density. Our study suggests that direct female choice in combination with indirect female choice (due to an interaction of female reluctance to mate and male persistence) is most consistent with the behavioural and selection patterns observed in S. cynipsea, but male effects cannot be definitively excluded. [source]

    Parental investment, sexual selection and sex ratios

    Abstract Conventional sex roles imply caring females and competitive males. The evolution of sex role divergence is widely attributed to anisogamy initiating a self-reinforcing process. The initial asymmetry in pre-mating parental investment (eggs vs. sperm) is assumed to promote even greater divergence in post-mating parental investment (parental care). But do we really understand the process? Trivers [Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man 1871,1971 (1972), Aldine Press, Chicago] introduced two arguments with a female and male perspective on whether to care for offspring that try to link pre-mating and post-mating investment. Here we review their merits and subsequent theoretical developments. The first argument is that females are more committed than males to providing care because they stand to lose a greater initial investment. This, however, commits the ,Concorde Fallacy' as optimal decisions should depend on future pay-offs not past costs. Although the argument can be rephrased in terms of residual reproductive value when past investment affects future pay-offs, it remains weak. The factors likely to change future pay-offs seem to work against females providing more care than males. The second argument takes the reasonable premise that anisogamy produces a male-biased operational sex ratio (OSR) leading to males competing for mates. Male care is then predicted to be less likely to evolve as it consumes resources that could otherwise be used to increase competitiveness. However, given each offspring has precisely two genetic parents (the Fisher condition), a biased OSR generates frequency-dependent selection, analogous to Fisherian sex ratio selection, that favours increased parental investment by whichever sex faces more intense competition. Sex role divergence is therefore still an evolutionary conundrum. Here we review some possible solutions. Factors that promote conventional sex roles are sexual selection on males (but non-random variance in male mating success must be high to override the Fisher condition), loss of paternity because of female multiple mating or group spawning and patterns of mortality that generate female-biased adult sex ratios (ASR). We present an integrative model that shows how these factors interact to generate sex roles. We emphasize the need to distinguish between the ASR and the operational sex ratio (OSR). If mortality is higher when caring than competing this diminishes the likelihood of sex role divergence because this strongly limits the mating success of the earlier deserting sex. We illustrate this in a model where a change in relative mortality rates while caring and competing generates a shift from a mammalian type breeding system (female-only care, male-biased OSR and female-biased ASR) to an avian type system (biparental care and a male-biased OSR and ASR). [source]

    Sexual selection did not contribute to the evolution of male lifespan under curtailed age at reproduction in a seed beetle

    Abstract. 1. Sexual selection is a powerful evolutionary force that is hypothesised to play an important role in the evolution of lifespan. Here we test for the potential contribution of sexual selection to the rapid evolution of male lifespan in replicated laboratory populations of the seed beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus. 2. For 35 generations, newly hatched virgin male beetles from eight different populations were allowed to mate for 24 h and then discarded. Sexual selection was removed in half of these populations by enforcing random monogamy. 3. Classic theory predicts that because of sexual competition, males from sexually selected lines would have higher age-specific mortality rates and shorter lifespan than males from monogamous lines. 4. Alternatively, condition-dependent sexual selection may also favour genes that have positive pleiotropic effects on lifespan and ageing. 5. Males from all eight populations evolved shorter lifespans compared with the source population. However, there was no difference in lifespan between males from populations with or without sexual selection. Thus, sexual selection did not contribute to the evolution of male lifespan despite the fact that such evolution did occur in our study populations. [source]

    No evidence that sexual selection is an ,engine of speciation' in birds

    ECOLOGY LETTERS, Issue 3 2003
    Edward H. Morrow
    Abstract Sexual selection has been implicated as having a role in promoting speciation, as it should increase the rate of evolution of reproductive isolation, and there is some comparative evidence that sexual selection may be related to imbalances in clade size seen in resolved phylogenies. By employing a new comparative method we are able to investigate the role of sexual selection in explaining the patterns of species richness across birds. We used data for testes size as an index of post-mating sexual selection, and sexual size dimorphism and sexual dichromatism as indices of pre-mating sexual selection. These measures were obtained for 1031 species representing 467 genera. None of the variables investigated explained the patterns of species richness. As sexual selection may also increase extinction rates, the net effect on species richness in any given clade will depend on the balancing effects of sexual selection upon speciation and extinction rates. We suggest that variance across clades in this balance may have resulted in the lack of a relationship between species richness and sexual selection seen in birds. [source]

    Female Mate Choice, Calling Song and Genetic Variance in the Cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus

    ETHOLOGY, Issue 3 2008
    Jocelyn Champagnon
    Female preferences for song patterns of males of Gryllodes sigillatus and genetic variance of morphological traits correlated with them were analyzed. Females preferred short pulses associated with large males. The males' thorax width, wing length and femur III length showed stronger relationship with the song pulse duration, whereas the relationship between pulse duration and wing width was not significant. Interestingly, this last trait was the only one that showed significant levels of genetic variance. Perhaps these results could be explained by the evolutionary response to sexual selection. Sexual selection could deplete the genetic variance in the male traits related to male-mating success. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 10 2008
    Leigh W. Simmons
    Sexual selection is thought to favor the evolution of secondary sexual traits in males that contribute to mating success. In species where females mate with more than one male, sexual selection also continues after copulation in the form of sperm competition and cryptic female choice. Theory suggests that sperm competition should favor traits such as testes size and sperm production that increase a male's competitive fertilization success. Studies of experimental evolution offer a powerful approach for assessing evolutionary responses to variation in sexual selection pressures. Here we removed sexual selection by enforcing monogamy on replicate lines of a naturally polygamous horned beetle, Onthophagus taurus, and monitoring male investment in their testes for 21 generations. Testes size decreased in monogamous lines relative to lines in which sexual selection was allowed to continue. Differences in testes size were dependent on selection history and not breeding regime. Males from polygamous lines also had a competitive fertilization advantage when in sperm competition with males from monogamous lines. Females from polygamous lines produced sons in better condition, and those from monogamous lines increased their sons condition by mating polygamously. Rather than being costly for females, multiple mating appears to provide females with direct and/or indirect benefits. Neither body size nor horn size diverged between our monogamous and polygamous lines. Our data show that sperm competition does drive the evolution of testes size in onthophagine beetles, and provide general support for sperm competition theory. [source]