Evolution of mating preference and sexual dimorphism

J Theor Biol. 1985 Dec 21;117(4):651-64. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5193(85)80245-9.


A quantitative genetic model of the joint evolution of female mating preferences and sexual dimorphism in homologous characters of the sexes is described for polygamous species with no male parental effort, such that mating preferences are selectively neutral and evolve only by indirect selection on genetically correlated characters. The male character and the homologous female character are each under stabilizing natural selection toward an optimum phenotype. At an evolutionary equilibrium the female character under natural selection is at its optimum, whereas there is a line of possible equilibria between female mating preferences and the male character. The line of equilibria may be stable or unstable, depending on the intensity of natural selection, the type of mating preferences, and the inheritance of the characters. Various mechanisms for maladaptive evolution of mating preferences and sexual dimorphism are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Models, Genetic
  • Phenotype
  • Selection, Genetic*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal*