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01-Nov-2020 07:06

Therefore, as is so often the case, in his description and definition of sexual selection, Darwin identified most of the issues that occupy us today.

Bateman (1948) hypothesized that males compete for mates and females do not because reproductive success in females is limited by the resources available for egg production, that is, the female gain curve plateaus, whereas the reproductive success of males is limited only by access to females, and the male gain curve is proportional to the number of mates (or eggs) available.

Darwin first defined sexual selection early in : “what I call Sexual Selection.

This depends not on a struggle for existence, but on a struggle between the males for the possession of the females; the result is not death to the unsuccessful competitor, but few or no offspring.” (Darwin 1859, p 88).

Over the last 130 years, research has established that (a) sexual selection exists and is widespread in the plant and animal kingdoms; (b) it does not necessarily entail sexual dimorphism; even hermaphrodites have it; (c) it does not require intelligence or a sophisticated sense of esthetics; even tapeworms and plants choose mates; and (d) it does not require brawn or even mobility for competition; plants may compete for pollinators, and broadcast spawning invertebrates may also compete for matings.

Although discussions of sexual selection often focus on sexual dimorphism, several phenomena that are commonly associated with sexual selection are widespread and highly developed in hermaphrodites.

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However, the essence of sexual selection as Darwin defined it is selection through competition for mates.Much of sexual selection research still focuses on sexual dimorphism (for example, Shuster and Wade 2003) and sexual dimorphism and secondary sexual characters are often used as proxies for evidence of sexual selection (see Table 1; Shuster and Wade 2003; Jones and others 2004; Kappeler and Van Schaik 2004; Mead and Arnold 2004; see discussion in Andersson 1994) and/or as part of the definition of sexual selection (Table 1).