Sexual selection

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Natural and sexual selection can be in opposition favouring different trait sizes, but disentangling these processes empirically is difficult. Here Okada et al. show that predation on males shifts the balance of selection in experimentally evolving beetle populations, disfavoring a sexually-selected male trait but increasing female fitness.

    • Kensuke Okada
    • , Masako Katsuki
    •  & David J. Hosken
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Higher vitamin D is associated with improved pregnancy and live birth rates, but its potential role in the human offspring sex ratio in unknown. Here, the authors show that the levels of vitamin D at preconception are positively associated with male live birth, particularly among women presenting inflammatory markers.

    • Alexandra C. Purdue-Smithe
    • , Keewan Kim
    •  & Sunni L. Mumford
  • Article
    | Open Access

    While size exaggeration is common in the animal kingdom, Pisanski & Reby show that human listeners can detect deceptive vocal signals of people trying to sound bigger or smaller, and recalibrate their estimates accordingly, especially men judging the heights of other men, with implications for the evolution of vocal communication.

    • Katarzyna Pisanski
    •  & David Reby
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Climate change may pose a challenge not only for survival of animals but also for their reproduction. Here, Schou et al. analyse how male and female ostrich fertility relates to fluctuating temperature across 20 years, finding reduced fertility away from the thermal optimum, but also individual variation in thermal tolerance.

    • Mads F. Schou
    • , Maud Bonato
    •  & Charlie K. Cornwallis
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Dioecy has evolved independently from hermaphroditic ancestors in different plant lineages. Here, the authors assemble Populus deltoides male and female genomes, and show the putative roles of a femaleness gene and a maleness gene in sex determination, which suggests independent evolution in different poplar species.

    • Liangjiao Xue
    • , Huaitong Wu
    •  & Tongming Yin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    This study resolves a long-standing mystery of why t haplotypes, an example of selfish genes, have persisted at unexpectedly low frequencies in wild mouse populations. It shows that multiple mating by females, which is more common at higher mouse population densities, decreases the frequency of driving t haplotypes.

    • Andri Manser
    • , Barbara König
    •  & Anna K. Lindholm
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Song et al. inferred that stridulatory wings and tibial ears co-evolved in a sexual context among crickets, katydids, and their allies, while abdominal ears evolved first in a non-sexual context in grasshoppers, and were later co-opted for courtship. They found little evidence that the evolution of these organs increased lineage diversification.

    • Hojun Song
    • , Olivier Béthoux
    •  & Sabrina Simon
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Grapevine is one of a few ancestrally dioecious crops that are reverted to hermaphroditism during domestication. Here, the authors identify candidate genes related to male- and female-sterility in grapes and describe the genetic process that led to hermaphroditism during domestication.

    • Mélanie Massonnet
    • , Noé Cochetel
    •  & Dario Cantu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Sensory drive theory posits that selection on sexual signals should depend on the environmental background. Here, Hulse et al. analyze the spatial statistics of body patterning in 10 darter fish species and find a correlation with habitat spatial statistics only for males, consistent with sexual selection via sensory drive.

    • Samuel V. Hulse
    • , Julien P. Renoult
    •  & Tamra C. Mendelson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Male orchid bees collect scents from the environment to attract females for mating. Here, Brand et al. combine population genomic, perfume chemistry, and functional analyses to show how divergence in odorant receptor genes may be driving reproductive divergence between two orchid bee species.

    • Philipp Brand
    • , Ismael A. Hinojosa-Díaz
    •  & Santiago R. Ramírez
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Pheromones are an essential cue for species recognition and mate selection in many insects including the butterfly Bicyclus anynana. Here the authors show that females with a short social experience of a new male learn preferences for novel pheromone blends, a preference which also occurs in their daughters.

    • Emilie Dion
    • , Li Xian Pui
    •  & Antónia Monteiro
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Models of mate choice have mainly focused on the implications of female mate choice for reproductive isolation. Here, Aubier et al. develop a population genetic model of coevolution between female and male mate choice, which can lead the population to oscillate between assortative and random mating.

    • Thomas G. Aubier
    • , Hanna Kokko
    •  & Mathieu Joron
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Evolution of optimal gene expression in females is expected to be constrained by sexually-antagonistic selection on males. Here, Parker and colleagues show that gene expression has in fact become masculinized in female stick insects across five independent transitions to asexual reproduction.

    • Darren J. Parker
    • , Jens Bast
    •  & Tanja Schwander
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The viviparity driven conflict hypothesis predicts the evolution of the placenta will suppress the evolution of traits associated with pre-copulatory mate choice and accelerate speciation rate. Furness et al. support the former and disprove the latter predictions with comparative analyses of the poecilid fishes.

    • Andrew I. Furness
    • , Bart J. A. Pollux
    •  & David N. Reznick
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Sexual selection has the potential to either increase or decrease absolute fitness. Here, Cally et al. perform a meta-analysis of 65 experimental evolution studies and find that sexual selection on males tends to increase fitness, especially in females evolving under stressful conditions.

    • Justin G. Cally
    • , Devi Stuart-Fox
    •  & Luke Holman
  • Article
    | Open Access

    What factors explain variation in the pace and trajectory of evolutionary divergence between lineages? Here, the authors show that a proxy measure for sexual selection intensity predicts both the rate and direction of plumage colour evolution in a diverse radiation of New World passerine birds.

    • Christopher R. Cooney
    • , Zoë K. Varley
    •  & Gavin H. Thomas
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Females are choosy about their mates, which should erode genetic diversity but in practice does not. Here, selection and genomic resequencing of Drosophila supports the hypothesis that this paradox can be explained by sexually selected traits reflecting genetic variation in condition.

    • Robert J. Dugand
    • , Joseph L. Tomkins
    •  & W. Jason Kennington
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Although male genital shape is known to evolve rapidly in response to sexual selection, relatively little is known about the evolution of female genital shape. Here, the authors show that across onthophagine dung beetles, female genital shape has diverged much more rapidly than male genital shape.

    • Leigh W. Simmons
    •  & John L. Fitzpatrick
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Sexual selection is expected to be intensified in non-monogamous mating systems; in birds this might accelerate song evolution. Here, the authors show that across songbirds, polygyny and extra-pair paternity are associated with faster syllable repertoire size evolution and smaller repertoire size, respectively.

    • Kate T. Snyder
    •  & Nicole Creanza
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Theory predicts that mating systems influence the relative strength of sexual selection before and after mating. Here, Morimoto and colleagues demonstrate that higher polyandry weakens precopulatory while strengthening post-copulatory sexual selection on males in Drosophila melanogaster.

    • Juliano Morimoto
    • , Grant C. McDonald
    •  & Stuart Wigby
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Although components of animal mating signals are often studied separately, many animals produce complex multimodal displays. Here, the authors show that the courtship display of male broad-tailed hummingbirds consists of synchronized motions, sounds, and colors that occur within just 300 milliseconds.

    • Benedict G. Hogan
    •  & Mary Caswell Stoddard
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Biases in adult sex ratio (ASR) are common, yet their causes and consequences are not well understood. Here, the authors analyse data from >6000 individuals of five shorebird species, showing that sex differences in juvenile survival drive ASR variation and biased ASR is associated with uniparental care.

    • Luke J. Eberhart-Phillips
    • , Clemens Küpper
    •  & Oliver Krüger
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Physical structure is known to contribute to the appearance of bird plumage through structural color and specular reflection. Here, McCoy, Feo, and colleagues demonstrate how a third mechanism, structural absorption, leads to low reflectance and super black color in birds of paradise feathers.

    • Dakota E. McCoy
    • , Teresa Feo
    •  & Richard O. Prum
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Studies of honest signaling have found an inconsistent relationship between carotenoid coloration and individual quality. Here, Weaver et al. compare dietary and biochemically converted carotenoid coloration using meta-analyses and show that converted carotenoids drive relationships with quality measures.

    • Ryan J. Weaver
    • , Eduardo S. A. Santos
    •  & Geoffrey E. Hill
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Sexual selection on males is thought to favour male-biased gene expression. Here, Veltsos et al. experimentally evolve Drosophila pseudoobscura under different mating systems and, contrary to expectation, most often find masculinization of the transcriptome under monogamy rather than under elevated polyandry.

    • Paris Veltsos
    • , Yongxiang Fang
    •  & Michael G. Ritchie
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Animal sexual signals should be conspicuous to mates but not to enemies. Here, the authors show that call site properties can set limits on the attractiveness of male frogs' advertisement call, but that males may balance sexual success over predation risk by digging deeper puddles.

    • Wouter Halfwerk
    • , Judith A. H. Smit
    •  & Michael J. Ryan
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A characteristic of rational behaviour is that it is transitive, such that preferences are ranked in a strict linear order. Here, Arbuthnott and colleagues show that mate choice in the fruit fly,Drosophila melanogaster, is transitive at the population level and that preferred mates produce more offspring.

    • Devin Arbuthnott
    • , Tatyana Y. Fedina
    •  & Daniel E. L. Promislow
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Many of the theropod dinosaurs, the group including Tyrannosaurus rex, had bony ornamentation on their skulls. Here, Gates et al. show that such ornaments are associated with greater body size and accelerated body size evolution in theropods; however, these relationships are absent in the maniraptoriform dinosaurs, which had evolved pennaceous feathers.

    • Terry A. Gates
    • , Chris Organ
    •  & Lindsay E. Zanno
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The acoustic properties of vocal signals generally depend on body size, but in some species males have traits that exaggerate the size conveyed by their vocal signals. Here, Charlton and Reby show that among terrestrial mammals, species with sexual selection for large male body size also have more exaggerated vocal signals for their size.

    • Benjamin D. Charlton
    •  & David Reby
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Females tend to invest more than males in caring for offspring, which has been argued to be a consequence of the small initial difference in investment in eggs versus sperm. Here, Fromhage and Jennions formalize this argument mathematically in a model of the evolution of sex roles in parental care.

    • Lutz Fromhage
    •  & Michael D. Jennions
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In some species with internal fertilization, females can mate with multiple males and then manipulate which sperm fertilize the eggs. Here, Alonzo et al.find that by releasing ovarian fluid along with their eggs, female ocellated wrasse are able to influence paternity despite having external fertilization.

    • Suzanne H. Alonzo
    • , Kelly A. Stiver
    •  & Susan E. Marsh-Rollo
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Male pheromones cis-vaccenyl acetate (cVA) and (Z)-7-Tricosene (7-T) mediate chemical mate-guarding in female D. melanogaster. Here, Laturney and Billeter show that females actively eject cVA from their reproductive tract post-copulation, and that cVA in concert with 7-T can reduce female attractiveness post-mating.

    • Meghan Laturney
    •  & Jean-Christophe Billeter
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Many human societies transitioned from polygyny to socially imposed monogamy as group sizes increased. Using a simulation model, the authors show that sexually transmitted infections impose heavier fitness penalties on polygynists as group size grows, enabling monogamists who punish polygyny to thrive in large groups.

    • Chris T. Bauch
    •  & Richard McElreath
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In species in which females mate with multiple partners, sexual selection acts on male traits involved in mating and fertilization. Here, the authors show that selection acting before and after mating explains a significant component of variance in male reproductive fitness in a livebearing fish.

    • Alessandro Devigili
    • , Jonathan P. Evans
    •  & Andrea Pilastro
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Complete sex chromosome dosage compensation is largely limited to male heterogametic species, with the majority of female heterogametic species displaying incomplete dosage compensation. Here, the authors show that sexual conflict over gene expression combined with sexual selection in males can explain this pattern.

    • Charles Mullon
    • , Alison E. Wright
    •  & Judith E. Mank
  • Article |

    Bird song is commonly seen as a male trait that plays a role in female attraction, but its origin and prevalence in females are unknown. Here, Odom et al.show that female song is widespread and that it was present in the common ancestor of modern songbirds.

    • Karan J. Odom
    • , Michelle L. Hall
    •  & Naomi E. Langmore
  • Article |

    Studies of male genitalia show patterns of divergent evolution, whereas females have been less well studied. Using experimental evolution and quantitative genetic analysis, Simmons and Garcia-Gonzalez show that sexual selection drives the coevolution of female and male genital morphology in the dung beetleOnthophagus taurus.

    • Leigh W. Simmons
    •  & Francisco Garcia-Gonzalez