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Abstract

Animal communication involves a multitude of signals ranging from morphological to behavioural traits. In spite of the diversity of traits used in animal signalling, most studies of sexual selection have focused on single male traits. Moreover, the two forces of sexual selection (male–male competition and female preference) may target different traits and favour the diversification of male signalling. Still, little is known on the combined effects of intra- and intersexual selection on the evolution of multiple signals. The peacock is often cited as one of the best examples of the strength of sexual selection in producing exaggerated traits. Here, we investigated traits under intra- and intersexual selection in a population of free-ranging common peafowl. Peacocks with longer trains and tarsi were more likely to establish a display territory in a central position within the lek and had a higher number of intrusions and agonistic interactions. These traits appeared therefore to be under intrasexual selection. Female selection was assessed as the number of copulations. Mating success was positively correlated with behavioural traits (display activity) and with train ornamentation (number and density of ocelli) suggesting that females use multiple cues during mate selection. Therefore, intra- and intersexual selection seem to operate on different sets of traits. Overall, our results stress the role of multiple receivers on the evolution of multiple signals.