Encyclopedia of Social Insects

Living Edition
| Editors: Christopher Starr

Sexual Selection

  • Boris BaerEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_104-1

As defined by Charles Darwin, sexual selection is “the advantage which certain individuals have over other individuals of the same sex and species solely in respect of reproduction.” It is, then, a special case of natural selection driven by conflicts among individuals over reproductive decisions. Furthermore, as originally set forth by Darwin, we distinguish between intra-sexual selection, which is driven by individuals of the same sex (typically males) to compete with each other, and intersexual selection that is driven by conflicts between opposite-sex individuals over reproductive decisions.

There is ample of evidence that sexual selection can be a remarkably strong evolutionary force. It can occur prior to mating (Table 1), for example, as male-male competition for access to females and/or eggs or female choice to discriminate against unwanted males (Table 1). However, sexual selection can continue to operate beyond mate choice and copulation. Such post-copulatory sexual...
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Integrative Bee Research (CIBER), Department of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA