Present address: S. A. Rands, Centre for Behavioural Biology, School of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU, UK.
Sexual selection and condition-dependence
Article first published online: 27 OCT 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2009 European Society For Evolutionary Biology
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 22, Issue 12, pages 2387–2394, December 2009
How to Cite
JOHNSTONE, R. A., RANDS, S. A. and EVANS, M. R. (2009), Sexual selection and condition-dependence. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22: 2387–2394. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2009.01822.x
- Issue published online: 13 NOV 2009
- Article first published online: 27 OCT 2009
- Received 2 April 2009; revised 14 May 2009; accepted 24 June 2009
- handicap principle;
The handicap theory of sexual selection suggests that females prefer mates who display extravagant ornaments that advertise their quality or condition. It is often assumed that as such ornamental traits undergo sexually-selected exaggeration, they must inevitably become more sensitive to condition, and thus more informative. Here, we show that this is not necessarily the case. Depending on the precise form of the relationship between trait size and cost, expression may become more or less condition-dependent as the trait undergoes exaggeration, or may remain unchanged. This leads us to question how much of the information content of sexual signals can be attributed to sexual selection, and how much to pre-existing, naturally-selected condition-dependence.