Sexual Selection and Speciation

Janette W. Boughman, Jason Keagy and Emily Weigel

in Evolutionary Biology

ISBN: 9780199941728
Published online February 2017 | | DOI:
Sexual Selection and Speciation

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The widespread observation that for many closely related taxa, sexual traits differ more markedly than other traits, underpins the hypothesis that sexual selection is often a major cause of speciation. Quite a few empirical studies support this hypothesis, by demonstrating that the traits that are targets of sexual selection within species are also critical to premating reproductive isolation (sexual isolation) between species. Despite these convincing studies, the hypothesis remains controversial. Fueling the controversy, results from comparative analyses are equivocal, with some studies providing support, others failing to find any relationship between sexual selection and speciation metrics, and others actually suggesting that sexual selection is more likely to cause extinction than speciation. Theoretical work is likewise mixed. Because of these mixed results, we lack a general answer to this question: Does sexual selection cause speciation?

Article.  14729 words. 

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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