The power of sexual selection to drive changes in mate recognition traits gives it the potential to be a potent force in speciation. Much of the evidence to support this possibility comes from comparative studies that examine differences in the number of species between clades that apparently differ in the intensity of sexual selection. We argue that more detailed studies are needed, examining extinction rates and other sources of variation in species richness. Typically, investigations of extant natural populations have been too indirect to convincingly conclude speciation by sexual selection. Recent empirical work, however, is beginning to take a more direct approach and rule out confounding variables.