Sexual selection

Female preferences for timing in a fiddler crab with synchronous courtship waving displays

Studies of sexual communication typically focus on the design and information content of a signal of interest, but the timing of signal production relative to nearby competitors can be crucial. Male fiddler crabs, Uca mjoebergi, court females with a …

Even more functions of sperm RNA: a response to Hosken and Hodgson

As recently outlined in TREE [1], many animals and plants are thought to load their male gametes with multiple types of RNA, some of which enters the oocyte upon fertilization. Four classes of ultimate hypotheses for sperm RNA were proposed [1], …

Local adaptation and the evolution of female choice

This book chapter presents a theoretical model looking at the evolution of female choice when male condition is determined by gene-by-environment interactions (GxEs). On the one hand, GxEs favour the evolution of female choice by maintaining a pool …

Polyandrous females found fitter populations

Multiple mating by females (polyandry) requires an evolutionary explanation, because it carries fitness costs in many species. When mated females disperse alone to a new habitat, their offspring may have no option but to mate with their siblings and …

Fiddlers on the roof: elevation muddles mate choice in fiddler crabs

Biological signaling usually occurs in complex environments, yet signals are most often studied in controlled experiments that strip away this complexity. Male fiddler crabs possess one enlarged claw that is waved during courtship displays, and …

Genetic constraints on dishonesty and caste dimorphism in an ant

The ultimate causes of honest signaling remain a subject of debate, with questions remaining over the relative importance of costs and constraints. Signal costs may make dishonesty prohibitively expensive, while genetic constraints could make it …

The consequences of polyandry for population viability, extinction risk and conservation

Polyandry, by elevating sexual conflict and selecting for reduced male care relative to monandry, may exacerbate the cost of sex and thereby seriously impact population fitness. On the other hand, polyandry has a number of possible population-level …

Costs and constraints conspire to produce honest signaling: insights from an ant queen pheromone

Signal costs and evolutionary constraints have both been proposed as ultimate explanations for the ubiquity of honest signaling, but the interface between these two factors is unclear. Here, I propose a pluralistic interpretation, and use game theory …

Random sperm use and genetic effects on worker caste fate in Atta colombica leaf‐cutting ants

Sperm competition can produce fascinating adaptations with far‐reaching evolutionary consequences. Social taxa make particularly interesting models, because the outcome of sexual selection determines the genetic composition of groups, with attendant …

Terminal investment in multiple sexual signals: immune‐challenged males produce more attractive pheromones

Trade‐offs between current and future resource allocation can select for elevated reproductive effort in individuals facing mortality. Males are predicted to benefit from increasing investment in costly sexually selected signals after experiencing an …