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Polyandry as a mediator of sexual selection before and after mating

Journal article
Authors Charlotta Kvarnemo
L. W. Simmons
Published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
Volume 368
Issue 1613
ISSN 0962-8436
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Keywords Bateman gradient, direct and indirect benefits, mating competition, sex roles, sperm competition, potential reproductive rates, role-reversed pipefish, competitive, fertilization success, chlamydotis-undulata-undulata, condition-dependent traits, strider gerris-lacustris, female mate, choice, male parental care, stalk-eyed flies, sperm competition, adsen, TShine, RShine, R1997264455PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCI!, anielsson, I200126877PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCESnullde Crespigny, 2004431446NATUREnullPilastro, APilastro, ASimonato, MSimonato, MBisazza, ABisazza, AEvans, VELOPMENTnullLorch, PDLorch, PD2002159645AMERICAN NATURALISTnullHelfenstein
Subject categories Biological Sciences


The Darwin–Bateman paradigm recognizes competition among males for access to multiple mates as the main driver of sexual selection. Increasingly, however, females are also being found to benefit from multiple mating so that polyandry can generate competition among females for access to multiple males, and impose sexual selection on female traits that influence their mating success. Polyandry can reduce a male's ability to monopolize females, and thus weaken male focused sexual selection. Perhaps the most important effect of polyandry on males arises because of sperm competition and cryptic female choice. Polyandry favours increased male ejaculate expenditure that can affect sexual selection on males by reducing their potential reproductive rate. Moreover, sexual selection after mating can ameliorate or exaggerate sexual selection before mating. Currently, estimates of sexual selection intensity rely heavily on measures of male mating success, but polyandry now raises serious questions over the validity of such approaches. Future work must take into account both pre- and post-copulatory episodes of selection. A change in focus from the products of sexual selection expected in males, to less obvious traits in females, such as sensory perception, is likely to reveal a greater role of sexual selection in female evolution.

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