Idea and Perspective
Diversification under sexual selection: the relative roles of mate preference strength and the degree of divergence in mate preferences
Article first published online: 1 JUL 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Volume 16, Issue 8, pages 964–974, August 2013
How to Cite
Ecology Letters (2013) 16: 964–974
- Issue published online: 12 JUL 2013
- Article first published online: 1 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 31 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 22 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Received: 26 APR 2013
- NSF. Grant Numbers: EF–0905606, IOS–1120790, IOS–0919962, IOS–0416808, DEB–0952659, IOS–0934990
- mate preference function;
- sexual coevolution
The contribution of sexual selection to diversification remains poorly understood after decades of research. This may be in part because studies have focused predominantly on the strength of sexual selection, which offers an incomplete view of selection regimes. By contrast, students of natural selection focus on environmental differences that help compare selection regimes across populations. To ask how this disparity in focus may affect the conclusions of evolutionary research, we relate the amount of diversification in mating displays to quantitative descriptions of the strength and the amount of divergence in mate preferences across a diverse set of case studies of mate choice. We find that display diversification is better explained by preference divergence rather than preference strength; the effect of the latter is more subtle, and is best revealed as an interaction with the former. Our findings cast the action of sexual selection (and selection in general) in a novel light: the strength of selection influences the rate of evolution, and how divergent selection is determines how much diversification can occur. Adopting this view will enhance tests of the relative role of natural and sexual selection in processes such as speciation.