Wiley, R. H.   2000.   Sexual selection and mate choice: trade-offs for males and females.   In M. Apollonio, M. Festa-Bianchet, and D. Mainardi (editors), Vertebrate Mating Systems. World Scientific Publishing, ISBN 981-02-4260-3. Pp. 8-46.


This review addresses current issues in the study of mating systems and mate choice and shows how sexual selection results in trade-offs for both sexes.

Arbitrary female preferences serve as a null hypothesis for comparison with the alternative hypotheses of direct and indirect net benefits for female preferences.

Indirect benefits require heritable male traits and thus raise the issue of decreasing additive genetic variance which could put female choice out of business.

Accelerating evolution of preferences and traits can result from at least two mechanisms, but genetic correlation and the consequent possibility for accelerating evolution will develop whenever heritable preferences and traits affect mating.

An expanded view of mate choice includes indirect as well as direct choice. As a result, the coevolution of male and female traits is seen to have much greater scope than currently appreciated.

The evolution of exaggerated traits and reliable signaling systems for female assessment results from an optimization of fitness (survival X reproduction) in males and an optimization of decision-making in noisy conditions by females.

Discordances between preferences and traits in a population can result from phylogenetic constraints or from current selection on preferences and traits.

This review thus emphasizes that the evolution of exaggerated traits and preferences is affected by inevitable trade-offs for the individuals involved.

[ENTIRE ARTICLE (.pdf file)]