Sexual selection theory

David M. Shuker

in The Evolution of Insect Mating Systems

Published in print July 2014 | ISBN: 9780199678020
Published online October 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191788987 | DOI:
Sexual selection theory

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Sexual selection arises from competition for access to mates and their gametes; it thus arises within a sex or mating type that is competing for access to the gametes of the other sex or mating type. Importantly, the other sex has to be a limiting resource in terms of quantity, quality, or both. Under this broadly accepted definition of sexual selection, it is clear that sexual selection can occur within both males and females, and indeed that sexes themselves are unnecessary (i.e. it can occur in isogamous species). As such, criticisms of sexual selection that focus on ‘sex roles’ are misplaced. In this chapter, the theoretical basis of sexual selection is reviewed. There are many ways that individuals may compete for access to mates, including directly contesting that access, or competing for resources needed by the other sex, and thereby gaining access to them. Alternatively, individuals may compete to attract or be chosen by members of the opposite sex, who themselves may compete to choose and monopolize attractive mates. In particular, we focus first on the theoretical models of contest competition, and how different forms of contest competition can be discriminated. The evolution of mate choice, an aspect of sexual selection that remains controversial, is then considered. Insects remain a crucial testing ground for sexual selection theory, as many of the following chapters show

Keywords: competition for mates; contest competition; sex-roles; evolution; mate choice; sexual selection

Chapter.  12344 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology ; Zoology and Animal Sciences

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