Sex and Evolution

  • Burney J. Le Boeuf


When I joined Frank Beach’s laboratory as a new graduate student I was anxious to get started on a project in his research specialty, sexual behavior. During one of our initial meetings, he strongly suggested (as he had done with many others before me) that I go down into the basement of the Life Sciences building and watch laboratory rats mate. One thing that immediately caught my interest was the female’s habit of running from the male as he approached, stopping abruptly, wriggling her ears, and then darting away again as the male gave chase. This behavior seemed to excite the male and invigorated his pursuit. I saw this episode repeated time and time again and it intrigued me all the more because Lynn Clemens, Bill Westbrook, and Jim Wilson, who were running the “sex tests,” assured me that the female was definitely in estrus and receptive to the male’s advances. Then why did she run? Why didn’t she just stand there and copulate? These simple questions plagued my fledgling graduate student mind and led to my first idea about an experiment on sexual behavior. It was simple enough. To determine the function of the female’s puzzling behavior, stop her from performing it, immobilize her and then observe what the male does. Well, for various reasons, the experiment was never done and it is probably just as well.


Reproductive Success Sexual Selection Reproductive Strategy Sperm Competition Parental Investment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alexander, R. D. The evolution of social behavior. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 1974, 5, 325–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexander, R. D. The search for a general theory of behavior. Behavioral Science, 1975, 20, 77–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bateman, A. J. Intrasexual selection in Drosophila. Heredity, 1948, 2, 349–368.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beach, F. A., and Le Boeuf, B. J. Coital behaviors in dogs, I. Preferential mating in the bitch. Animal Behavior, 1967, 75, 546–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bertram, B. C. R. The social system of lions. Scientific American, 1975, 232, 54–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown, J. L. Alternate routes to sociality in jays—with a theory for the evolution of altruism and communal breeding. American Zoologist, 1974, 14, 63–80.Google Scholar
  7. Bruce, H. Effects of olfactory stimuli on reproduction in mammals. In G. Wolstenhome (Ed.), Effects of external stimuli on reproduction (CIBA Foundation Study Group No. 26), Boston: Little and Brown, 1967.Google Scholar
  8. Bruce, H. M. Pheromones and behavior in mice. Acta Neurologica Belgica, 1969, 69, 529–538.Google Scholar
  9. Buechner, H. K., and Schloeth, R. Ceremonial mating behavior in Uganda kob (Adenota kob thomasi Neuman). Zhurnal fuer Tierpsychologie, 1965, 22, 209–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Campanella, P. J., and Wolf, L. L. Temporal leks as a mating system in a temperate zone dragonfly (Odonata: Anisoptera), I: Plathemia lydia (Drury). Behavior, 1974, 51, 49–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cox, C. R., and Le Boeuf, B. J. Female incitation of male competition: A mechanism in sexual selection. American Naturalist, 1977, 111, 317–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crook, J. H. Introduction—social behavior and ethology. In Crook, J. H. (Ed.), Social behavior in birds and mammals, London: Academic Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  13. Crow, J. F., and Kimura, M. Evolution in sexual and asexual populations. American Naturalist, 1965, 99, 439–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Crow, J. F., and Kimura, M. Evolution in sexual and asexual populations. American Naturalist, 1969,703,89–91.Google Scholar
  15. Darwin, C. On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favored races in the struggle for life. London: John Murray, 1859.Google Scholar
  16. Darwin, C. The descent of man and selection in relation to sex. London: John Murray, 1871.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. DeFries, J. C., and McClearn, G. E. Social dominance and Darwinian fitness in the laboratory mouse. American Naturalist, 1970, 104, 408–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. De Long, R. L. Interspecific reproductive behavior among four otariids at San Miguel Island, California. Talk given at the Conference on the Biology and Conservation of Marine Mammals, 4–7 December 1975, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1975.Google Scholar
  19. Eberhard, M. J. W. The evolution of social behavior by kin selection. Quarterly Review of Biology, 1975, 50, 1–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ebert, J. D., Loewy, A. G., Miller, R. S., and Schneiderman, H. A. Biology. New York: Holt, Reinhart, and Winston, 1973.Google Scholar
  21. Erickson, C. J., and Martinez-Vargas, M. C. The hormonal basis of cooperative nest-building. In P. Wright, P. G. Caryl, and D. M. Vowles (Eds.), Neural and endocrine aspects of behaviour in birds. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1975.Google Scholar
  22. Estes, R. D., and Goddard, J. Prey selection and hunting behavior of the African wild dog. Journal of Wildlife Management, 1967, 31, 52–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fisher, R. A. The genetical theory of natural selection. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1930.Google Scholar
  24. Ghiselin, M. T. The economy of nature and the evolution of sex. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974.Google Scholar
  25. Guhl, A. M., and Warren, D. C. Number of offspring sired by cockerels related to social dominance in chickens. Poultry Science, 1946, 25, 460–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hamilton, W. D. The genetical theory of social behaviour, I, II. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 1964, 7, 1–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hamilton, W. D. Extraordinary sex rations. Science, 1967, 156, 477–488.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hamilton, W. D. Selfish and spiteful behaviour in an evolutionary model. Nature (London), 1970, 228, 1218–1220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hamilton, W. D. Geometry for the selfish herd. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 1971a, 31, 295–311.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hamilton, W. D. Selection of selfish and altruistic behavior in some extreme models. In J. F. Eisenberg and W. S. Dillon (Eds.), Man and beast: Comparative social behavior. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1971b.Google Scholar
  31. Hamilton, W. D. Altruism and related phenomena, mainly in social insects. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 1972, 3, 193–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hinde, R. A. The biological significance of territories in birds. Ibis, 1956, 19, 340–369.Google Scholar
  33. Hunt, G. L., Jr., and Hunt, M. W. Gull chick survival: The significance of growth rates, timing of breeding and territory size. Ecology, 1976, 57, 62–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Huxley, J. S. The present standing of the theory of sexual selection. In G. DeBeer (Ed.), Evolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 1938.Google Scholar
  35. Itani, J. Paternal care in the wild Japanese monkey, Macaca fuscata fuscata. Primates, 1959, 2, 61–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lack, D. The evolution of reproductive rates. In J. Huxley, A. C. Hardy, and E. B. Ford (Eds.), Evolution as a process. New York: Collier Books, 1954.Google Scholar
  37. Lack, D. Ecological adaptations for breeding in birds. London: Chapman and Hall, 1968.Google Scholar
  38. Lawick-Goodall, Jane van. In the shadow of man. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1971.Google Scholar
  39. Le Boeuf, B. J. Male-male competition and reproductive success in elephant seals. American Zoology, 1974, 14, 163–176.Google Scholar
  40. Le Boeuf, B. J., and Briggs, K. T. The cost of living in a seal harem. Mammalia, 1977 (in press).Google Scholar
  41. Leigh, E. G. Sex ratio and differential mortality between the sexes. American Naturalist, 1970, 104, 205–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Leuthold, W. Variations in territorial behavior of Uganda kob, Adenota kob thomasi (Newmann, 1896). Behaviour, 1966, 27, 215–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Maynard-Smith, J. Kin selection and group selection. Nature, 1964, 201, 1145–1147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mayr, E. Sexual selection and natural selection. In B. Campbell (Ed.), Sexual selection and the descent of man, 1871–1971. Chicago: Aldine, 1972.Google Scholar
  45. Mech, L. D. The wolf: The ecology and behavior of an endangered species. Garden City, New York: Natural History Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  46. Mohnot, S. M. Some aspects of social changes and infant-killing in the Hanuman langur, Presbytis entellus (Primates: Cercopithecidae), in western India. Mammalia, 1971, 35, 175–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Nisbet, I. C. T. Courtship feeding, egg-size, and breeding success in common terns. Nature (London) , 1913, 241, 141–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Orians, G. H. On the evolution of mating systems in birds and mammals. American Naturalist, 1969, 103, 589–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Parker, G. A. Sperm competition and its evolutionary consequences in insects. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 1970, 45, 525–567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Parker, G. A., Baker, R. R., and Smith, V. G. F. The origin and evolution of gamete dimorphism and the male-female phenomenon. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 1972, 36, 529–533.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Paynter, R. Clutch size and the egg and chick mortality of Kent Island Herring Gulls. Ecology, 1949, 30, 146–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Peterson, R. S., Le Boeuf, B. J., and DeLong, R. L. Fur seals from the Bering Sea breeding in California. Nature (London), 1968, 219, 899–901.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Power, H. W. Mountain bluebirds: Experimental evidence against altruism. Science, 1975, 189, 142–143.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rivers, J. P. W., and Crawford, M. A. Maternal nutrition and the sex ratio at birth. Nature (London), 1974, 242, 297–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rowell, T. E. Behaviour and female reproductive cycles of rhesus macaques. Journal of Reproduction and Fertility, 1963, 6, 193–203.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Schaller, G. B. The Serengeti lion: A study of predator-prey relations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972.Google Scholar
  57. Seiander, R. K. Behavior and genetic variation in natural populations. American Zoologist, 1970, 10, 53–66.Google Scholar
  58. Selander, R. K. Sexual selection and dimorphism in birds. In B. Campbell (Ed.), Sexual selection and the descent of man, 1871–1971. Chicago: Aldine, 1972.Google Scholar
  59. Selander, R. K., and Johnson, W. E. Genetic variation among vertebrate species. Proceedings of the XVII International Congress of Zoology, 1972, 1–31.Google Scholar
  60. Selander, R. K., and Kaufman, D. W. Genic variability and strategies of adaptation in animals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 1973, 70, 1875–1877.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Severinghaus, C. W. Some observations on the breeding behavior of deer. New York Fish and Game Journal, 1955, 2, 239–241.Google Scholar
  62. Skutch, A. F. Helpers among birds. Condor, 1961, 63, 198–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Sugiyama, Y. Social organization of hanuman langurs. In S. A. Altmann (Ed.), Social communication among primates. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967.Google Scholar
  64. Trivers, R. L. The evolution of reciprocal altruism. Quarterly Review of Biology, 1971, 46, 35–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Trivers, R. L. Parental investment and sexual selection. In B. L. Campbell (Ed.), Sexual selection and the descent of man, 1871–1971. Chicago: Aldine, 1972.Google Scholar
  66. Trivers, R. L. Book review of The Economy of Nature and the Evolution of Sex by M. T. Ghiselin. Science, 1974a, 186, 525–526.Google Scholar
  67. Trivers, R. L. Parent-offspring conflict. American Zoologist, 1974b, 14, 249–264.Google Scholar
  68. Trivers, R. L., and Willard, D. E. Natural selection of parental ability to vary the sex ratio of offspring. Science, 1973, 179, 90–91.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Verner, J. Evolution of polygamy in the long-billed marsh wren. Evolution, 1964, 18, 252–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Warner, R. R., Robertson, D. R., and Leigh, E. G., Jr. Sex change and sexual selection. Science, 1975, 190, 633–638.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Watson, J. B., Behaviorism. New York: Norton, 1925.Google Scholar
  72. Watts, C. R., and Stokes, A. W. The social order of turkeys, Scientific American, 1971, 224, 112–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Williams, G. C. Adaptation and natural selection. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966.Google Scholar
  74. Williams, G. C. Sex and evolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975.Google Scholar
  75. Wiley, R. H. Territoriality and non-random mating in Sage Grouse, Centrocercus urophasi-anus. Animal Behavior Monographs, 1973, 6, 85–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wilson, E. O. Sociobiology., Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press, 1975.Google Scholar
  77. Wolf, L. L. “Prostitution” behavior in a tropical hummingbird. Condor, 1975, 77, 140–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wynne-Edwards, V. C. Animal dispersion in relation to social behavior. London: Oliver and Boyde, 1962.Google Scholar
  79. Zahavi, A. The social behavior of the White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba wintering in Israel. Ibis, 1971, 113, 203–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Burney J. Le Boeuf
    • 1
  1. 1.Crown CollegeUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

Personalised recommendations