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Costs of breeding and their effects on the direction of sexual selection

Journal article
Authors L. W. Simmons
Charlotta Kvarnemo
Published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
Volume 273
Issue 1585
Pages 465-470
ISSN 0962-8452
Publication year 2006
Published at Department of Zoology, Animal Ecology
Pages 465-470
Language en
Keywords cost of breeding, direction of sexual competition, choosiness, sex roles, tettigoniids, sex-biased mortality, potential reproductive rates, male mate choice, natural-populations, parental investment, mortality-rates, bush-cricket, kawanaphila-nartee, monogamous seabird, mating systems, evolution
Subject categories Biological Sciences, Ethology and behavioural ecology


A recent life-history model has challenged the importance of the operational sex ratio and the potential reproductive rates of males and females as the factors most important for the control of sexual selection, arguing that the cost of breeding, interpreted as the probability of dying as a consequence of the current breeding attempt, is the single most important factor that best predicts a mating system. In one species of bushcricket, the mating system can be reversed by resource manipulation. Here, we examine the costs of breeding in this system. Consistent with the model, increased costs of breeding can explain female competition and increased male choosiness under resource limitation. However, this is due to differences in the time required for a breeding attempt, rather than differences in breeding mortality which did not differ between the sexes. In general, males lived longer than females and we discuss the possible reasons behind this pattern of sex-biased non-breeding mortality.

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