Sexual Activity and Life Span

  • L. Partridge


Most theoretical models of the evolution of life histories have incorporated the fundamental assumption that costly activities such as growth, repair and reproduction are to some extent mutually exclusive (e.g., Williams 1966, Gadgil and Bossert 1970, Schaeffer 1974, Charlesworth 1980). This means that natural selection cannot simultaneously maximize performance at these processes, so that evolutionary tradeoffs occur, the nature of which will depend upon the type of environment in which the organism lives. For instance, if the fertility of adults is associated with their size, then the age of first reproduction may be delayed to maximize allocation of resources to growth earlier in life. Alternatively, if predation on adults is high, the age of first reproduction may be brought forward at the expense of growth.


Life Span Sexual Activity Virgin Female Reproductive Activity Lifetime Reproductive Success 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Partridge
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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